ODM Confirms Fallout Over BBI, Announces Way Forward

  • President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and ODM leader Raila Odinga (right) during the famous March 2018 handshake that birthed the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI)
    President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and ODM leader Raila Odinga (right) during the famous March 2018 handshake that birthed the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI)
    File
  • The Orange Democratic Party has issued a statement after reports that internal wrangles within the party risked causing delays or the collapse of the Building Bridges Initiative

    In a statement authored by ODM Director of Communications Philip Etale on Monday, May 3, the party confirmed that some of its senior leaders were reading from different scripts with regard to the contents of the BBI Bill. 

    Etale, however, downplayed the differences over the contents, saying there was consensus that the bill would be passed by all ODM MPs and Senators. 

    Siaya Senator James Orengo speaking during the disbursement of Gem CDF bursaries in Wagai on Monday, February 19.
    Siaya Senator James Orengo speaking during the disbursement of Gem CDF bursaries in Wagai on Monday, February 19.
    File

    “In a democratic party like the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) members have to disagree and later agree on principle especially when it comes to sensitive matters as the constitution review.

    “ As a party, we wish to assure our members, supporters and the general public that our legislators are only differing on substance but have a common agreement that they will all pass the Bill on the voting day,” the statement read.

    ODM has urged Kenyans not to look at the differences in opinion as a split in the party but as a demonstration of maturity in a democratic space.

    Siaya Senator James Orengo and Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo had been accused of betraying the party after they supported the declaration of 70 additional constituencies as unconstitutional. 

    The duo, long-time supporters of ODM leader Raila Odinga has also called for amendments to be done before passing the document. 

    Suna East MP Junet Mohammed who is also the co-chair of the BBI secretariat and the ODM Director of Elections has accused Orengo of attempting to disown a document he helped draft alongside National Assembly Majority Leader Amos Kimunya.

    “He cannot turn around now to say we didn’t agree on this or that. He cannot run away from his baby,” Junet stated.

    The Orengo faction is of the opinion that not only is creating new constituencies supposed to be handled by the IEBC,  but the team has also claimed the new constituencies fail the test of regional representation as 40 out of the 70 in the new list are from one region.

    The divide saw Orengo attract backlash from ODM supporters who accused him of betraying Odinga in sabotaging the BBI Bill

    Raila's inner circle sees Orengo's stand as an attempted coup against the former Prime Minister for the Luo kingpinship - at a time when Odinga is recovering from Covid-19. 

    The Senator was reportedly summoned to Raila's Karen home and State House to persuade him against his tough stance on the BBI bill. 

    An undated file image of Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo.
    An undated file image of Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo.