What started as a political rebellion marriage between Budalangi MP Ababu Namwamba and his Funyula counterpart Paul Otuoma that send shivers down the spine in ODM has now started to hit the rocks.
According to sources, Otuoma now suspects that Ababu engaged him for his own financial and not political gains.
Ababu is said to be facing serious opposition on ground and is out to run for Busia senator’s slot since incumbent Amos Wako is to retire from active politics. Ababu does not want not to be seen as a lone ranger in the county politics though. Informed sources say that after his anti-Raila Odinga sentiments, Jubilee started funding him to cause ripples in Luhya politics alongside Sirisia MP John Waluke. After his tour in Bungoma recently, Ababu slept at Galaxy Hotel in Bungoma town room 206. A woman was dropped by VX vehicle guzzler carrying loads of money which Ababu shared with Waluke and journalist David Makali.
Otuoma was not present and got wind of the happenings. Aware that Ababu and his allies are playing stomach politics and games on him, the former minister decided to stick in ODM and desert the Namwamba camp as he announced last week. He had just met the Cord co-principal and ODM leader at his private offices Capitol Hill. We have also established that Otuoma was not comfortable with being associated with Fred Gumo. Gumo’s political history is questionable, having been used by Daniel Moi to fight the late Masinde Muliro and even Musalia Mudavadi in ODM. Gumo is grooming his relative to run for the Westlands seat held by Tim Wanyonyi (ODM) on Jubilee ticket, hence his current political revival and forays even after medical doctors advised him to rest in bed and avoid talking much. Unconfirmed reports further say Ababu’s fortunes have dwindled and the house project in Karen has stalled.
When ODM party leader Raila summoned 12 MPs from Western province to his private offices at Capitol Hill last Thursday soon after the resignation of Namwamba as the party’s secretary general, little did anyone know that it would open a can of worms in the once formidable party in the region that enjoyed near fanatical following prior to the 2013 general elections.
It all began when those viewed as strong members of the party fizzled out from the podium and sidelined to political periphery in the party as strong voices then like that of Gumo and Kenneth Marende were subdued in the ensuing ODM political matrix soon after the hotly contested general elections in 2013 and the heat generated after the party’s national election fiasco at Kasarani during which the men in black phenomena came to emerge.
Sources say Ababu and Otuoma, the party’s vice chairman who was the first to ditch the union, have been holding secret meetings with Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi. Initial reports have indicated that Ababu was then angling towards the Labour Party of Kenya headed by Julia Ojiambo but things did not work out after they could not agree on various modalities.
The name of William Ruto has featured in the political machination to purchase LPK from Ojiambo and front Ababu in the region through LPK as a Jubilee wing and whereas sources say the agreement of Sh60 million to sell out LPK was not agreed upon, the party leader’s insistence that she remains the head of the organ did not augur well with the proponents of the idea.
But as things stand, ODM appears to be losing ground in Western steadily. Ababu, viewed by many as the voice of reason but condemned in equal measures as a gun for hire, opened a can of worms in ODM following his resignation from the party citing numerous reasons as to the cause of his action.
Deeply rooted is the fact that as the party’s spokesman then, he had been sidelined to the periphery in as much as the party’s affairs were concerned. At the centre of it was the fact that funding from the Registrar of Political Parties to ODM could not be accounted for yet in Ababu’s own backyard in Western, ODM offices had been closed due to non-payment of rent.
It was then said that the monies that ought to have paid for rent for the party’s offices in Kakamega, Bungoma, Vihiga, Busia and elsewhere in the country had been channeled to pay for the party leader’s private offices at Capitol Hill in Nairobi. Sources say ODM share of the political parties funding annually is pegged at Sh70 million that cannot be accounted for. This is said to have irritated Ababu to the core, leading to his eventual announcement that he was quitting the party.
As Busia county revolts against ODM, it must be noted that Wako is in the same tune with Ababu and it would not be a surprise if Wako was to send another salvo at ODM hierarchy in the widening rebellion against the party being witnessed in the region.
When the party’s leader, Raila Odinga, summoned 12 MPs from the region last Thursday at Capitol Hill, word has it, they were extremely intimidated by the party leader and given conditions to toe the line and denounce Ababu’s dissention or lose their respective parliamentary committee seats on which they represent ODM.
Those who met Raila were Wilbur Ottichilo of Emuhaya, Silverse Lisamula, Shinyalu, Rachel Ameso, women representative, Nancy Abisai, EAC, Daisy Kenai, nominated senator, Andrew Tobosso, Butere, Johnson Naicca, Mumias West, Evans Akula, Khwisero, Geoffrey Odanga, Matayos, Dorcas Kedogo, nominated Vihiga, Raphael Otaalo, Lurambi including a representative with people with disabilities from the region.
As cracks widen in ODM, it is instructive to note that these are the same leaders, widely referred in the region as political weaklings, who were present when Ababu announced at the press conference that he was quitting ODM. It is for this reason that the MPs, for fear of their waning popularity on the ground, are seeking solace in siding with the ODM leader to earn direct nomination.
Arising from the meeting with Raila, the leaders were instructed to accompany Raila during his scheduled tour of Western region to mend fences with his dwindling popularity in the area.
It has since appeared that ODM, which once enjoyed fanatical following in Western province is steadily under threat of its influence among voters in the region. The sleeping Luhya giant, like China, is waking up.