They were vocal during the campaigns and had Azimio La Umoja One Kenya boss Raila Odinga clinched the presidency in August General Election, they would have become members of Raila’s Kitchen Cabinet.
But now that the former Prime Minister needs them the most, Suna East MP Junet Mohamed, former Mombasa governor Hassan Joho and his Kitui counterpart Charity Ngilu have been missing in action and have kept off his rallies.
The three have not attended any of the Azimio protest meetings.
Yesterday, and when the party was showing signs of division after several of its MPs from Nyanza met President William Ruto at State House in Nairobi, the two reappeared, and had lunch with Mr Odinga.
“Had a refreshing lunch with my brothers. Tuko Imara!”, Mr Odinga tweeted with a photo of the two, and former Kakamega Governor Wyclif Oparanya.
Before yesterday, Mr Mohamed was last spotted with Mr Odinga when the ODM boss held talks with British High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriott, while Mr Joho has been active on Instagram and other social media platforms where he has been posting photographs of himself in Dubai, The Netherlands and other places abroad.
Yesterday, the trio did not respond to the Nation’s query on why they no longer attend Mr Odinga’s rallies despite not missing any of the Azimio leader’s campaign rallies. Someone like Mr Mohamed was the master of ceremonies in all Azimio rallies.
Mr Odinga’s protest meetings are being attended by Wiper boss Kalonzo Musyoka, Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua, the patron of Democratic Alliance Party of Kenya (DAP-K) Eugene Wamalwa, Jubilee Secretary Jeremiah Kioni, and National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi among other Azimio legislators.
Apart from Mr Joho, Mr Mohamed and Ms Ngilu, others who have not attended Mr Odinga’s rallies are ODM chairman John Mbadi, former Gatanga Peter Kenneth, East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) MP Kanini Kega, nominated MP Sabina Chege and several Azimio governors.
Mr Mohamed’s aides yesterday told the Nation in confidence that the lawmaker has decided to take a backseat following the blame games which have continued to rock the opposition camp.
“The boss (Mr Mohamed) is around, and he continues to work closely with Jakom (Mr Odinga) from the background. He has deliberately decided to take a back seat so as not to be blamed for anything. He has suffered all kinds of blame both from Azimio and Kenya Kwanza sides. If he was attending those rallies, it could be said that he is taking Baba the wrong direction,” said the aide, who requested not to be named because he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Mr Mohamed and Mr Joho have been accused of bungling the election by failing to deploy enough agents across the country, in what the Raila campaign secretariat says is lies and borders on defamation.
Mr Mohamed, who was visible in nearly all the Azimio presidential campaigns, has exonerated himself from blame, saying he was attached to the campaign team which had no challenges at all.
“I don’t want to blame anybody, but my duty was in the field during the campaigns. That was my task,” Mr Mohamed told the Nation in an earlier interview.
He had been accused of working closely with Mr Joho and blocking other leaders from accessing Mr Odinga to offer him advice.
Mr Joho recently had lunch with the East African Legislative Assembly parliamentarian Mr Suleiman Shahbal, Tanzanian artist Ommy Dimpoz and other friends in Dubai.
His former chief of staff, Job Tumbo, yesterday maintained that his former boss is in Dubai pursuing his ‘other personal interests’.
“But he will be back in Kenya soon. There is life after politics,” he said.
Another source in Mr Joho’s circle told the Nation that the former governor has decided to take a political break as he monitors the current political situation in the country before making his political step.
“Governor Joho decided to take a break from high-octane politics. He was back recently but left the country again,” said the source.
Last month, Mr Odinga said: “He (Mr Joho) is out of the country, but he is going to come back. I talk to him all the time. When he comes back, he will join the party and make his contribution. ODM is very much united and strong,” said Mr Odinga at the Anglican Church of Kenya Cathedral in Mombasa.
Mr Mbadi on Saturday defended himself, saying some of the rallies were hurriedly convened, thereby locking out leaders outside Nairobi.
“We are part and parcel of the planned rallies, and we will always be there to give our support. Some people were engaged outside Nairobi. There should be no concerns at all because we have a strong team of leaders in Nairobi to take charge of the rallies,” said Mr Mbadi.
National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi said the absence of some of the coalition leaders was the least of their worries as Mr Odinga was more interested in engaging his supporters directly.
“As to why others are not attending, I think they are better placed to give their reasons,” Mr Wandayi told Nation.Africa.