Raila party ready for crucial Coast talks amid cracks
6 months ago, 17 June 05:00
Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) top brass troop to Mombasa on Monday for a crucial meeting amid serious cracks within its ranks at the Coast.
The meeting, to be chaired by party leader Raila Odinga, will bring together its national officials, governors, senators and MPs.
Dubbed a “housekeeping retreat” by party Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna, the meeting comes only days after several ODM MPs from the Coast region openly declared their support for Deputy President William Ruto in the 2022 General Election.
Mr Sifuna confirmed to Nation that the meeting will take place at Pride Inn hotel in the coastal city, but insisted it was a retreat to deliberate on party issues.
The meeting also comes at a time when Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi, a hitherto staunch Raila ally, is calling for the formation of a Coast political party to field a presidential candidate in 2022. He also now works closely with Mr Ruto, casting doubts on his continued stay in the Orange party.
Mr Sifuna had last week warned ODM MPs who had declared support for Mr Ruto, led by the chairman of the Coast Parliamentary Group and Msambweni MP Suleiman Dori and his Malindi counterpart Aisha Jumwa, of disciplinary action for breaching party rules by expressing loyalty to a non-member.
Mr Odinga, however, issued a statement clarifying that the party will not gag its members from making political statements but with a rider that come the next elections, it will mobilise all within its ranks to rally behind its candidate.
Speaking in Siaya county on Saturday, Mr Odinga took a swipe at Mt Ruto, warning against early campaigns for the 2022 election.
He said: "Watu waache mambo ya kurandaranda na kurukaruka juu ya siasa," (people should stop loitering from one place to another because of politics)," he said, referring to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s recent remarks over Mr Ruto’s forays across the country.
He expressed optimism that the Building Bridges Initiative will achieve the objective of uniting Kenyans. Mr Odinga steered away from tomorrow’s retreat and instead appealed to politicians to stop speculating on whether he will be on the ballot during the 2022 presidential election.
"Let us concentrate on rectifying the existing loopholes then we can engage in the rest at the right time," he said.
PILLARS OF DEVELOPMENT
He said the opposition will support the government to help it realise the fulfilment of the four pillars of development. "The government is on the right track and we need to work together to help them realise what they promised Kenyans," he said.
Although Mr Odinga last week denied that the party’s retreat has anything to do with the DP’s forays in his strongholds, the recent political developments in Coast are expected to feature.
Mr Ruto has been at the Coast, one of Mr Odinga’s strongholds, five times since the March 9 handshake.
Mr Odinga last ...
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