Wrangles within Ford-Kenya escalate after leader’s tweet
By Jeremiah Kiplang’at and
Wrangles in Ford Kenya escalated yesterday as leader Moses Wetang’ula engaged in fresh exchanges with party’s estranged officials over who was behind its perpetual troubles.
It began when Wetangula appeared to suggest that Orange Democratic Movement (ODM)leader Raila Odinga was behind the splintering of the party in a post he made on an account associated with him on Twitter Tuesday morning.
In a post accompanying a screenshot of Odinga hosting Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa and party officials Wafula Wamunyinyi and Eseli Simiyu, Wetang’ula said the picture of the trio was taken a day before an “attempted coup” to remove him as the party leader last year.
Speaking to People Daily, Wamunyinyi distanced Raila from the claims, saying they had officially abandoned the party and will join a new outfit next week Tuesday.
“It is nonsensical to say Raila is behind our decision to leave the party. We have tried to solve the issues within the party but Wetang’ula has used every means to frustrate us. The case in court has been pending for one and half years. We have decided to leave. We have left. They can remain with the party. We will be launching our party on December 14,” he said.
The MP declined to reveal the name of the new party but indications are they will be joining Democratic Action Party of Kenya (DAP) associated with Wamalwa.
In response, Ford Kenya, through its organizing secretary general Chris Mandu, said the duo’s exit would not weaken the party.
“Their decision to leave does not have any impact. They had already been expelled after attempting a coup last year in March. We are wishing them the best wherever they are going,” he said, adding that Wetang’ula remained strong in Bungoma and nationally.
“They do not have any capacity to campaign against Wetang’ula in Bungoma. If they could not manage to stop their expulsion, how can they manage any campaign against him in the county?” said the party’s official.
Troubles have inundated the once vibrant party following leadership disputes.
Founded by the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and Wamalwa Kijana Ford Kenya is fast fading into a regional following factional fighting.
Credited for fighting for multi-party democracy, it was the home of the country leading political voices including Opposition Raila Odinga, governors Kiraitu Murungi and Anyang Nyongo, senator James Orengo, former MPs Paul Muite, Gitobu Imanyara, Prof Rashid Mzee, Phoebe Asiyo, Musikari Kombo, the late Henry Obwocha, and Oki Ooko Mbaka who would at one time lead the Ufungamano constitutional reform initiative.
The present woes of Ford Kenya started when Wetang’ula took over the outfit, whose symbol is the lion, in controversial circumstances from former Local Government Minister Kombo who assumed office after the death of former Vice President Wamalwa Kijana in 2003.
The party has since faced mass exodus by its founding members owing to wrangles.
Wetang’ula assumed the party’s leadership in 2013 after the National Delegates Council meeting to elect new party officials failed to take off following Kombo’s refusal to participate.
After Wetangula’s took over, Musikari and Eugene formed the New Ford Kenya which in turn produced more MPs and MCA’ than Ford Kenya in Bungoma county during the 2013 General Election.
Bungoma Governor Kenneth Lusaka also won through the party.
The party was again rocked after deputy party leader Richard Onyonka decamped to ODM. Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati is also said to be on his way out.
Wamunyinyi and Eseli said they will unveil the new political party on November 14 and it will be an affiliate of Azimio la Umoja under stewardship of Raila Odinga.
Wamunyinyisaid they had consulted widely and that their new party will be local based.
“We shall unveil our new party which will push the interests of our local people both in Bungoma and Trans Nzoia,” said Wamunyinyi.
Eseli said they were going to walk with Wamalwa in their new political dispensation.
“Wetang’ula has snatched our clothes while we were bathing, so we can’t follow him naked as nobody will identify between him and us who is a mad man,” said Eseli.