The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party on Tuesday, February 7, weighed in on reports of nine legislators allegedly ditching party leader, Raila Odinga, for President William Ruto.
Reports indicated that eight ODM MPs and an independent lawmaker convened at State House, whereby they essentially ditched the Azimio leader and pledged to work with the ruling government. They also allegedly assured him that they would not attend Azimio rallies.
Among the politicians included Phelix Odiwour - Jalang'o - (Lang'ata), Mark Nyamita (Uriri), Tom Ojienda (Kisumu), Shakeel Shabir (Independent - Kisumu Town East) and Caroli Omondi (Suba South), Elisha Odhiambo (Gem), Gideon Ochanda (Bondo). The identity of the other two MPs was yet to be disclosed by the time of publication.
Jalang'o shared a photo with President Ruto at State House, confirming that he was among the MPs who had breakfast with the head of state.
"I followed up on the start date of the construction of affordable housing in the Highrise ward and the completion of the Lang'ata TVET.
"The project is on, and the contractor is on the ground. An extra Ksh50 million has been located for the completion," the popular emcee stated.
Ruto, on the other hand, affirmed that the essence of the meeting was to enable cooperation from all leaders in a bid to solve the country's challenges.
"Leaders must join hands, foster coexistence and work together in confronting the challenges facing our country. They must endeavour to lead by example and serve the interest of the people. This is a sure route to a more united and developed Kenya.
"At State House, Nairobi, I held a consultative meeting with MPs from Nyanza following a recent visit to the region," Ruto stated.
Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke on Tuesday, February 7, ODM Director of Communications Philip Etale affirmed that the party was yet to receive an official report but pointed out that the politicians ought to be guided by the Azimio coalition, which helped them clinch seats in the 2022 General Election.
Etale also warned errant ODM members to quit if they felt dissatisfied with the day-to-day operations of the opposition.
"If the reports are true as alleged, let their conscience guide them. They were elected on Azimio tickets and should receive instructions from the coalition.
"If they believe that ODM is not sufficient for them, they should quit and join the United Democratic Alliance (UDA)," he stated.
Etale added that no disciplinary action would be taken until the reports were confirmed. He noted that Jalang'o was in the party's series of meetings during the weekend, and he couldn't comprehend why he may have changed his mind if the reports were true as alleged.
The communication strategist also affirmed that Azimio supporters follow the guidance of Raila, NARC-Kenya party leader Martha Karua and Jubilee Secretary-General Jeremiah Kioni.
"Azimio is still intact," Etale pointed out.
Efforts by Kenyans.co.ke to reach Jalang'o were futile as he did not respond to calls or texts. Presidential Communication Service boss, David Mugonyi and State House spokesperson, Hussein Mohamed, did not respond to queries on the issue.
The news comes amidst reports of various politicians ditching the Azimio coalition and pledging allegiance to the ruling government.
While addressing the public in Kibra, Raila affirmed that the coalition would forge ahead with his political soldiers and allies who stood with him. He also announced they would traverse all counties while holding the rallies.