The desire to give Orange Democratic Movement a national outlook ahead of the 2022 election forced Raila Odinga to postpone the much-awaited grassroots polls that were scheduled for March this year.
Others say that Raila wants Jubilee to hold party polls then follow after reading the mood on ground during the ruling party elections that is already divided down the middle.
Sources say that the postponement had nothing to do with BBI politics but the current bitter war within Raila kitchen cabinet. The war is so serious that a section of members do not greet each other. An example is that of MP Millie Odhiambo and Homa Bay women rep Gladys Wanga.
There were also fears that deputy president William Ruto could try to use his immense wealth to sponsor candidates, particularly in Jubilee strongholds, to undermine Raila and thus derail his presidential ambitions.
The ODM leader, according to insiders, also wants to strengthen the party by incorporating some of his kitchen cabinet members who are solidly behind the Building Bridges Initiative in the party’s governance structure.
Most notable inclusion in the party’s governance structure will be Siaya senator James Orengo, who has returned to the fold after falling out with his boss over the Ugenya by-election debacle where David Ochieng of the Movement for Democracy and Growth defeated the Orange party’s candidate Chris Karan.
Orengo led Karan’s campaigns, which ended in humiliating defeat.
The Siaya senator wormed his way to Raila after he played a pivotal role in Kibra by-election where ODM candidate, Imran Okoth, carried the day by beating the well-oiled Jubilee candidate, footballer MacDonald Mariga.
Orengo has now become one of Raila’s most trusted allies, and even represented him during the burial of second liberation hero Charles Rubia in Murang’a county in December last year.
The return of Orengo into ODM’s political fold has not been received well by ODM chairman John Mbadi and director of operations, the versatile Junet Mohammed.
The Mbadi-Junnet camp also has Wanga. Wanga is key in BBI campaigns overshadowing Millie who decided to skip Embrace Kenya Women team which Wanga was the chairlady.
The late Rubia and late Kenneth Matiba alongside Raila were detained by former president Daniel arap Moi in 1990s for agitating for the reintroduction of multiparty politics.
Indeed, since the aborted elections on February 28 2014 where chaos was stagemanaged to avert it, there have been calls for ODM to conduct countrywide grassroots polls to give the opposition party a national outlook and claim.
The 2014 polls aborted after a group of delegates led by then nominated MP Isaac Mwaura caused mayhem at the Kasarani Sports Gymnasium.
Mwaura has since defected to the Jubilee Party which nominated him to the senate to represent the special interests groups.
During the polls, trouble started when men dressed in black suits overturned tables, smashed ballot boxes and destroyed election materials, infront of Raila insisting that the polls could not proceed unless they were furnished with the party register of its bona fide members. The choreographed chaos was according to some quarters aimed at stopping Mombasa governor and then Budalangi MP Ababu Namwamba camp from snatching the party leadership.
Attempts by then outgoing secretary general Anyang Nyong’o to restore order were ignored as it fell on deaf ears.
Before trouble started, Mwaura had climbed on top of one of the tables to attract attention, claiming people were ignoring him.
Raila blamed the violence allegedly on “enemies of the party,” saying the matter was being investigated to determine the cause the rumpus. The investigations have never been made public with word that Raila himself was part of the scheme to disarray the elections exercise. A woman delegate from Kibera narrated how she and others had rushed to a room in the gymnasium to alert Raila that goons had taken over only for Raila, whom she said had, to their surprise, now changed into different cloths, to retort that they go home.
A few days after the mayhem, Raila picked new officials who were expected to be endorsed by the national governing council.
In a move that was seen as an attempt to appease the two factions that battled it out in the botched elections, Raila was named as party leader while Joho and his Kakamega counterpart Wycliffe Oparanya were made his two deputies.
Namwamba now the chief administrative secretary in the ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, was named the secretary general with then senators Elizabeth Ongoro and Agnes Zani as the deputies. Namwamba is now allied to Ruto in Uhuru Kenyatta succession game.
Namwamba was to resign as ODM secretary general on July 6 2016 after falling out with Raila.
His resignation came barely a week after the party’s then vice chair Paul Otuoma had resigned from his position saying that ODM lacked internal democracy. Otuoma is slowly winning his way back to Raila as he eyes Busia governorship 2022.
Namwamba had also accused his party of giving him a raw deal by making him a ‘powerless’ secretary general.
In February 2018, ODM national executive council picked Edwin Sifuna for the post of secretary general to replace Namwamba. Sifuna like Namwamba, is a Luhya from Bungoma while Namwamba is from neighbouring Busia.
His appointment was meant to counter Ford-K leader Moses Wetang’ula in Bukusu politics. ODM had sponsored Sifuna to oppose Wetang’ula in the senatorial contest in 2017 as many wondered aloud why Raila could let Wetang’ula, then a co-principal in Nasa, to be opposed in his own dominion.
During the closed-door meeting held at Orange House chaired by Raila, members deliberated on the most suitable candidates to fill vacant positions.
After several hours, the top leadership, which was weighing between Norman Magaya and Sifuna, settled on the latter as the party’s spokesperson. The position was being held by Zani in an acting capacity.Sifuna is in Junnet-Mbadi camp that calls the shots in ODM.
The Orengo camp has seasoned politicians among them, majority of current governors on ODM ticket, Reports indicate that Raila wants to crack the whip on party Young Turks after they almost bungled Kibra by-election nominations with bribery claims surfacing. It forced Raila to refund nomination fee to other aspirants.
At the time, Joho and Oparanya continue to serve as deputy leaders while Mbadi remains the national chairman.
The list had Turkana governor Josphat Nanok, who was the Council of Governors chairman, as vice chairperson alongside Janet Ongera who replaced Otuoma, Thomas Mwadeghu who took over from Adan Keynan and Christine Lemein.
Deputy secretary generals Zani and Busia woman representative Florence Mutua replaced Ongoro.
Other officials are national treasurer, Timothy Bosire, deputy treasurer Ogla Karani, deputy treasurer Hilda Siang’a, national organising secretary, Abdikadir Aden and deputy organising secretaries, Fatuma Ibrahim.
Others are Owen Baya who replaced Reuben Ndolo, Rosa Buyu and Suleiman Dori, secretary for public policy and economic affairs, Jared Okelo who took over from Steven Kariuki secretary for legal and constitutional affairs, Timothy Wanyonyi secretary for publicity and information, Denitah Ghatti secretary for international affairs, Esther Passaris who replaced Joyce Lay as secretary of regional affairs, Tabitha Seii secretary for women affairs/ (ODM women league leader), Beth Syengo secretary for youth affairs /(ODM youth league leader), John Ketora secretary for special interests groups, Halima Daro who replaced Edin Wario as he absconded, secretary for environment, Ronald Ng’eny secretaries for parliamentary affairs/whip national assembly, Gladys Wanga secretaries for parliamentary affairs/whip senate, James Orengo secretary for devolved government, Kipkorir Menjo secretary for science and technology, Steve Mbogo who took over from Noah Akala secretary for special programmes and social welfare, Memusi Kanchori who replaced the late Grace Mboja, secretary for labour and human resource development, Mike Rubia secretary for national security, Justus Kizito who replaced John Waluke who defected to Jubilee, secretary for humanitarian and disaster management affairs, Bob Njagi who succeeded Amos Olempaka, secretary for disability affairs, Nixon Kakiri who replaced Isaac Mwaura, secretary for political affairs, Opiyo Wandayi, director of campaigns, Junet and executive director (ex-officio) – Oduor Ong’wen.
Raila is party leader, Joho and Oparanya deputy party leaders, Mbadi as chairman, Jeremiah Lomorukai as vice-chair, and Bosire as treasurer, Junet is director of campaigns and Judy Pareno is chair national elections board.
According to insiders, Raila wants the party top leadership, which is dominated by individuals from South Nyanza, spread out to reflect the country’s ethnic diversity.
He is concerned that the party leadership does not reflect the face of Kenya as it ought to be in order to reflect a national image.
This is because he is himself (Luo), Mbadi (Suba), Junet (Somali), but elected in South Nyanza constituency, Lomorukai (Turkana), Mutua (Busia woman representative. She is a Kamba married to a Luhya), Zani (Coast), Joho (Coast), Oparanya (Luhya), Aden (Somali), Sifuna (Luhya), Bosire (Kisii), Pareno (Maasai) and Ongw’en (Luo).
In the ODM top leadership, there is no figure from Mount Kenya region.
Other communities that have traditionally backed the ODM leader are also left out in the top leadership, which is dominated by Luos.
According to sources, Raila wants the ODM national seats distributed to the major communities where he will represent the Luo, Oparanya to go for secretary general to represent the Luhya, Bosire to retain the treasurer’s post to represent the Kisii and Joho to represent Coast.
The other seats will be distributed to the Kikuyu, Kalenjin and Kamba communities.
ODM shelved plans for elections to fill party positions citing the ongoing campaigns to popularise the Building Bridges Initiative.
Raila said they had revised the dates from the initial plan to hold the elections in March.
Among activities taking a back seat is the planned nationwide membership recruitment that was slated for December 31 last year.
Parties are required to submit a list of officials alongside their annual reports to the Registrar of Political Parties by end of April.
However, with the uncertainties around the ODM and Jubilee Party elections, this has been frozen.
Save for ODM, which may simply present lists of interim officials, Jubilee is bound by its constitution to hold its polls by March.
Raila cited recommendations of a taskforce led by Catherine Mumma, as part of the reason for the internal reforms push.
The taskforce which was set up to look at the party elections and why ODM did not do well in 2017, recommended an overhaul of the party’s structure.
To be affected were the national elections board, national executive committee and the secretariat.
The team noted that nominations were one of the causes of ODM’s poor performance in subsequent elections which followed its star performance in 2007.
Joho works on Coast 2022 lineup – Weekly Citizen
Mombasa governor Hassan Joho has renewed his war against Coast elected leaders who are perceived to be supportive of William Ruto’s 2022 Presidential bid. Currently, Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya is under siege from hostile MCAs suspected to be under instructions of Joho through county speaker Sammy Ruwa.
Ruwa has been a longtime Joho sidekick and has also acted as his legal adviser in the past. He has been fronted for governor seat twice but rejected. He is speaker for a second term. Towards the end of Mvurya’s first term, he has been a Ruto man. He has no time for Joho, insisting Kwale is not an extension of Mombasa county. In the last general elections, Joho had vowed to ensure Mvurya was defeated at the ballot. But this was never to be after the Mombasa governor fell out with Chirau Mwakwere who was a sure bet against Mvurya on the then popular ODM ticket.
After Mwakwere bolted out of ODM to Wiper, Joho turned to little known Issa Chipera as party candidate. Chipera literally became minced meat for Mvurya who easily beat him and made a comeback on a Jubilee ticket. Mvurya is grooming his deputy Fatuma Achani to succeed him in the next general election but observers say this is a tall order. Joho on the other hand is reportedly pushing Crop Development PS Hamad Boga for the Kwale seat against Mvurya’s candidate and Mwakwere. Another Ruto man on Joho’s radar is Kaloleni MP Paul Katana. Recently, the legislator was discharged as a member of the parliamentary investment committee in actions said to have the Mombasa governor’s hand.
Ironically, Katana was Joho’s PA when he served as Kisauni MP. But it appears other than fighting Katana for aligning himself with Ruto, he never wanted him to be MP in the first place. In the 2013 general election when Katana first contested and lost to little known Gunga Mwinga, there were allegations that ODM insiders had rigged him out. Currently, Joho is said to be financing the political activities of Mwinga to undermine Katana in the constituency. Katana has said severally that his cooperation with Ruto is because of the handshake between Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta. “I’m a loyal member of ODM with full respect to my party leader. I also support the handshake and that is why I have been working with DP Ruto to further development in my constituency,” the legislator was quoted as saying.
He has also said his cooperation with Ruto is not for selfish reasons but for the benefit of his constituents. He says the DP has presided over high profile funds drives towards public projects in his constituency. The MP says some of the people fighting him have never assisted Kaloleni to move forward but wants leaders who can bootlick them.“I’m independent-minded and I work for the interest of my people who elected me and have no time for sycophancy,” Katana says. Mohammed Ali of Nyali constituency and a close ally of the DP is another one whom Joho is scheming against. He is pushing his cousin Said Abdalla aka Saido against the Jicho Pevu.
Jicho Pevu’s recent rising political profile after he filed a motion to impeach transport CS James Macharia over chaos at Mombasa port has alarmed the Joho camp. In spite of the rejection of the motion by Speaker Justin Muturi, Ali has become a hero in Mombasa. Last week, pro-Joho Mombasa MPs led by Mvita’s Abdulswamad Nassir were doing damage control. They toured the port and pleaded with the KPA management to put out a notice affirming that usage of SGR for containers upcountry was optional. This was meant to cool the heat against them after residents began collecting signatures to recall them for failing to support Jicho Pevu motion. Another Joho political foe Aisha Jumwa of Malindi constituency is politically wounded and the Mombasa governor no longer cares what she does or says. The Malindi MP’s self-inflicted woes have dimmed her 2022 Kilifi governor bid.
Fresh political formation in Siaya ahead of 2022 – Weekly Citizen
There are plans afoot to drop Alego Usonga MP Samuel Atandi from a leading role in Senator James Orengo gubernatorial campaign team. Observers point that the surprising decision was reached after it became clear that the controversial legislator was no longer appealing to the majority of voters.
There were earlier reports of an inside analysis conducted within Siaya senator campaign inner circle that hinted the disadvantages of trusting the MP with a major role yet he was also facing stiff opposition from notable politicians in the region. The development debate comes hot on the heels of a video that went viral showing the evidently intoxicated legislator dancing suggestively during a house party attended by women, as his Gem counterpart Elisha Odhiambo cheered. Weekly Citizen has established that political formations are already regrouping in Siaya ahead of 2022 general election and a section of political leaders including top ODM party officials from Alego Usonga are not happy with Atandi’s quick move to front Senator Orengo for the county’s governorship.
Area governor Cornell Rasanga has confronted the lawmaker on a number of occasions describing his early campaigns in support of Orengo as a lack of respect for his office. The protest by the governor sparked off an anti-Atandi wave as he was immediately joined by a host of formidable politicians from Alego Usonga in castigating the MP accused of overstepping his political mandate. The local ODM party leadership led by Alego Usonga branch chairman John Orwenjo, and secretary Paul Jura reaffirmed that the party had crowned Rasanga as their bona fide patron and it was, therefore, his duty to offer political direction on matters regarding his successor. The Orengo-led group which also brings together Gem MP Elisha Odhiambo and his Rarieda counterpart Otiende Amollo has been roundly accused of leading early full-scale political activities at the expense of development.
MCAs chairman Sylvester Madialo warned Atandi to stop creating confusion among voters, adding he should hold his horse and wait for the party whistle to be blown or prepare to equally lose his seat at the ballot. The leaders including Township MCA Obiero Otare, Vincent Odawa (North Alego), Judy Okumu (West Alego), Joseph Mboha (South East Alego), and Winnie Otieno (nominated) have loudly questioned how Atandi would deliver for Orengo when he is standing on a politically shaky ground. It is claimed that the Siaya senator blocked Atandi from using his chopper to escape from a crowd that turned rowdy during a food distribution to flood victims in his constituency. It is reported that trouble started after the MP barred Usonga ward MCA Madialo from addressing his voters after the food distribution. People with disabilities who had attended the event reportedly bayed for his blood after he gave them a paltry sh100 prompting Orengo to deny the lawmaker a chopper ride in fear that associating with him would jeopardize his 2022 governorship bid.
Rogue Kisumu NGO’s money minting gimmicks – Weekly Citizen
Various stakeholders and residents of Kisumu county have called upon Nyanza regional police commander Noah Mwivanda and his DCI counterpart Daniel Kipsoi, to investigate the activities of the chairman of an NGO called Magnum Environment Network Michael Nyaguti. The NGO, it is claimed, is a briefcase one with no donor funding surviving fully on extortion and threats. By last week, a victim was planning to institute private criminal charges against the NGO.
They are accusing Nyaguti of extortion and blackmail of people under the guise of encroaching on water catchment areas and flouting environmental laws failure of which he always resorts to going to courts as an interested party of the said social vice. One of the victims narrated that sometimes back, he was developing rental houses near Lake Victoria and had been given all the required documents from the county, Nema, and all relevant authorities to commence his work only for Nyaguti to appear menacing at the site with a group of people he called officials of Magnum Environment Network accompanied by some people who looked like police officers who demanded that I show them documents in regard to what I was doing. Most developers ranging from real estate to hospitable industries are saying that they are really undergoing rough times in the hands of the said Nyaguti who on most occasions is accompanied by some rogue police officers who intimidate and threaten their respective targets with arrests. The said Nyaguti had sometimes back attempted to extort Sh5 million each from former governors Evans Kidero and Jack Ranguma, together with a senior leading civil servant under the guise that they had bought land which should have been part of Lake Victoria.
When the trio was adamant that they would not give him any money, he sued them saying they had encroached on wetlands. The same Nyaguti also sued the Kisumu county government and Nyanza Golf Club which he accused of reclaiming the wetland at the mouth of River Kisat without convening a public participatory forum, as part extortion antics but his bid has fallen on deaf ears. He had also sued Kenya Ports Authority, Kisumu after the parastatal had ordered beach management units out of its land after collecting thousands of shillings from the said victims. Recently together with other activists, they stormed Western offices of Kenya Wildlife Service demanding that they investigate a ring of cartels believed to be working in cahoots with officers to defraud victims of wildlife attacks of their compensation. After his request was rejected, he called a meeting in Kisumu with some of the victims who had not been paid and tried to convince them to give him the power of attorney so that he could press them for their payment. Efforts to get Nyaguti’s comments were fruitless while a senior KWS officer said that they have a clear policy on how KWS compensates. “KWS has no agreement with anyone to peruse payments,” he said.