The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) is accusing its coalition partners in the National Super Alliance (Nasa) of betraying it by fielding candidates in the upcoming Kibra parliamentary by-election, claiming it went against the spirit of the opposition.
Party Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna on Friday accused Ford Kenya and Amani National Congress (ANC) leaders of working against opposition unity by fielding candidates in the November 7 mini-polls.
Mr Sifuna spoke as an MP in the Musalia Mudavadi-led ANC also faulted the party for fielding a candidate for the Kibra seat, claiming it was “on a revenge mission” against ODM leader Raila Odinga.
Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi claimed that the party’s move to field Mr Odinga’s former aide, Mr Eliud Owalo, in the race was suspicious, adding that the party ought to have conducted formal nominations.
Mr Owalo was Mr Odinga’s 2013 campaign manager.
Ford Kenya has fronted Khamisi Butichi to contest the seat that fell vacant after the death of Ken Okoth of ODM.
But Mr Sifuna has blamed Mr Moses Wetang’ula and Mr Musalia Mudavadi for deciding to test the unity of Nasa and advancing the agenda of the opponents.
“The Kibra by-election will be the last straw that broke the camel’s back. We will not allow people who pretend to be working with us to test our unity,” he said on Friday.
He pointed out the latest move by the two western Kenya-based leaders as the third attempt to go against the coalition.
“The first time was when they failed to turn up during the swearing-in of our party leader, Raila Odinga, as the people’s president at Uhuru Park, then opposing the ‘handshake’ between Mr Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta,” he said during the burial of Nyando MP Jared Okello’s brother in Kisumu County.
“They should just come out and end the relationship if they feel that they are not part of Nasa. Mr Wetang’ula should prepare for a bruising contest in his bid to recapture the Bungoma senatorial seat in 2022, as ODM will also have a candidate,” he said.
Mr Osotsi blamed his party leader, Mr Mudavadi, for fielding Mr Owalo, observing that the party leader had been “sucked into a petty and myopic political revenge game by ANC”.
The MP blamed ANC Secretary-General Barrack Muluka for Cord coalition’s poor showing in the 2013 General Election, arguing that he was also on a revenge mission against Mr Odinga, for whom he had worked briefly.
Mr Muluka headed Mr Odinga’s communication team briefly before he left in 2013.
On Saturday, Mr Osotsi said Mr Owalo and Mr Muluka were disgruntled and pulled Mr Mudavadi into their personal battles with Mr Odinga.
“Owalo was Raila’s campaign manager in 2013 while Muluka was the communications director before he unceremoniously resigned a few days before the elections. The past statements by the duo portray them as jilted, and Mudavadi has been sucked in,” Mr Osotsi said.
Mr Owalo declined to comment on the accusations by Mr Osotsi when reached, but Mr Muluka downplayed them saying, “Osotsi is a broken record. I have no time to respond to his publicity-seeking stunts.”
But Mr Osotsi maintained that some people within ANC were driving an agenda similar to that of Deputy President William Ruto.
“The message from ANC on matters Building Bridges Initiative, handshake and Kibra contest seems to resonate with that from DP Ruto. No wonder we have these insinuations that the two are planning to work together ahead of 2022.
“The fielding of candidates by ANC and Jubilee’s Ruto against Raila’s candidate will be perceived as an attempt to scuttle the handshake deal. Mudavadi is gradually being pulled towards Ruto by individuals close to him.”
He noted that the ANC’s decision will have huge political ramifications on the party.
“Kibra is Mr Odinga’s political bedroom and this may just be the end of the Nasa coalition. It will provide the platform to shape new coalitions for 2022,” the MP added.