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Support Raila or leave Nasa, ODM now tells Kalonzo and Mudavadi

George Kebaso @Morarak

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has fired another salvo at its partners in Nasa, telling them to either support a common push against Jubilee or leave the orange party to go it alone.

Party’s new secretary general Edwin Sifuna, who took office yesterday, delivered an ultimatum to Wiper, Amani National Coalition (ANC) and Ford Kenya to either support its campaign against the government, or leave Nasa and let the Raila Odinga-led Orange party do it alone.

The statement by Sifuna appeared to be in tandem with growing impatience by some ODM politicians against other Nasa affiliates, particularly Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka. In a Nasa leaders’ meeting last Friday, Mombasa governor Hassan Joho angered Kalonzo when told some politicians “to stop being cowards” in apparent reference to the Wiper leader and co-principals Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula’s failure to show up at Raila’s mock oath on January 30.

When he stood to speak, Kalonzo reacted angrily, saying he was not a coward. But last weekend, more ODM MPs rubbed in the slur. On Tuesday, Joho wrote to Kalonzo asking him to clarify whether remarks made by his deputy in Wiper Farah Maalim in a television show, reflected the party’s stand.

“We note with regret remarks made by the Wiper Party deputy leader, Farah Maalim, at a popular morning TV show aired on the 26th of this month where he said Raila Odinga should retire and become a kingmaker, an utterance that was not just offensive to our party leader but also to the entire ODM fraternity, and that Nasa was as dead as a dodo,” wrote Joho, adding that he expected a quick response so that ODM can decide how to engage with Wiper in future.

On its part, ANC yesterday accused ODM leaders of orchestrating a strategy to renege on a coalition agreement on the 2022 presidential election that would have Kalonzo and another leader as flag bearers. ANC deputy party leader Ayub Savula said it would be wrong for Raila to abandon his co-principals in Nasa after they sacrificed their ambitions to back his 2017 presidential bid.

“The Nasa partner parties agreed to back Raila’s presidential bid in 2017 with the understanding that the party will not field a presidential candidate in 2022,” he said at a separate event.

However, speaking at Orange House yesterday, Sifuna maintained ODM was keen on seeking a conclusive discussion on the outcome of the August 8 election, before focussing on next polls. “The party has not moved on from the 2017 General Election and, therefore, there is no need to discuss the 2022 poll at this moment,” he told journalists.

He added: “We won’t give up the fight against electoral injustice and disrespect for the rule of law.” Sifuna and his two new deputies, Agnes Zani and Busia Women’s Representative Florence Mutua, claimed the last General Election and the October 26 repeat presidential poll were marred by widespread electoral fraud, and the discussion around the two elections had not been exhausted.

They said they will not apologise for ODM’s status as the most populous party in Nasa. “We are warning those who want to stand between us and the enemy to move aside and leave us to do it,” added Sifuna.

Sifuna said ODM will no longer be forced to carry along its partners and will instead focus on fighting what it believes in. “We will no longer walk on our knees so that our short friends can feel better about themselves. We will also not discuss 2022 politics until we’ve finished issues of electoral justice in 2017 elections,” said the secretary general.

ODM has been on the receiving end after Raila’s mock oath as the ‘people’s president’. Leaders of Nasa-affiliate parties have also accused the party of being unfair in the sharing of Parliamentary positions.

Former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale has in the past said it would be unacceptable for ODM to ignore the the 2017 coalition agreement. “We have a coalition agreement in place which clearly states that ODM will not field a presidential candidate at the 2022,” said Khalwale.

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