Raila convenes second Azimio MPs’ meeting to iron out feuds
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has convened a crisis meeting early next week to address the emerging fallout arising from the outcome of the August 9 General-Election and sharing of House leadership positions.
Lawmakers affiliated to Azimio were divided down the middle as to whether they should meet again to deliberate on the matter since the coalition had already decided on how House positions should be dished out. By yesterday, it was understood that the coalition was planning to have the meeting any time next week as plans to hold it tomorrow did not materialise due to the ongoing induction of MPs that will end on Saturday.
It will be the second PG the party will be having in a span of one week after it held a similar one at Stoni Athi in Machakos county where positions were shared out among coalition partners.
While those who want the meeting convened were of the opinion that replacing Nominated MP John Mbadi with his Ugunja counterpart Opiyo Wandayi as the National Assembly Leader of Majority amounts to a demotion, those opposed to the meeting feel the matter of leadership positions had been adequately canvassed during the past retreat.
Speaking to People Daily yesterday, ODM Executive Director Oduor Ong’wen confirmed that there would be a meeting for members to deliberate, among other things, the House leadership positions of the bicameral Parliament.
“This is a new Parliament. We must orient our new members and also discuss the House leadership. We have not fixed the date but it will be early next week. As a majority party we have to look at the chairs of various committees and also the legislative agenda,” Ong’wen said.
He added: “Our leadership has not developed the full agenda of the meeting but normally the PGs are for housekeeping, if members think it (House leadership) should be reviewed they can put it in the agenda.” Nyatike MP Tom Odege said the PG will bring to a close the leadership wrangles that has rocked the party for a week now.
“There is a lot of tension between Wandayi and Mbadi. Our party leader will be meeting us early next week and I hope things will be rested,” Odege said.
But speaking separately, Suna East MP and a high-ranking member of the Azimio Coalition, Junet Mohamed said he was not aware of any meeting that had been called.
“I am not aware of any meeting as of now,” he said.
Another member who was recently appointed to one of the positions said those pushing for the PG are doing so out of their selfish interests.
“We know the people pushing for this meeting but just let them know they will not achieve anything,” the member said.
According to insiders who did not want to be quoted, the decision by Raila to convene the PG follows the disquiet among members after a section of them, led by Mbadi, lamented that despite sacrificing for the party they had been sidelined.
“Yes we expect to have a meeting next week, we need to deal with this matter of representation, I feel some members who were given slots do not deserve them,” said the member who sought anonymity.
Two days ago, Mbadi protested against the ODM decision to deny him the Majority Leader position.
Speaking at a local TV station, the ODM party national chairman faulted the outfit for the decision, insisting that he had been short changed.
According to Mbadi, who served as the Minority Leader in the 12th Parliament, the position ought to have gone to him, since it was the party that prevailed upon him to drop his bid for the Homa Bay gubernatorial seat in the August 9 polls.
“I was asked to shelve my gubernatorial ambition which I did. It will be unfair to deny me the opportunity on the basis that I am Nominated. I have a track record as a Minority Leader,” Mbadi said.
Complaints by Mbadi came after the Raila Odinga-led party unveiled Wandayi as its Majority Leader.
Speaking after the PG meeting, Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka stated that Azimio legally and legitimately commands a majority in the National Assembly, despite contrary views from President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza camp.