Raila Responds to Critics After Embracing Ruto While Punishing ODM Rebels

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga (left) and Lang'ata MP Phelix Odiwour (right) at a birthday party on Sunday July 30, 2023
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga (left) and Lang'ata MP Phelix Odiwuor (right) at a birthday party on Sunday, July 30, 2023
Phelix Odiwuor

Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga has told off critics who have accused him of double standards while handling cases of rebels Members of Parliament with Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Party.

Raila who was attending a political party event in Migori County, sought to defend his newly found dalliances with the State while punishing ODM MPs who are closely working with President William Ruto's administration.

According to the former Prime Minister, members of the Orange Party are only allowed to work with the State while following the proper channels which have been established by his political faction.

"Our party members in direct talks with our opponents are traitors. Let them use the proper channels. Development comes via structured processes, not dished out at statehouse," Raila stated.

Raila and Passaris
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga is received by Nairobi County Woman Representative Esther Passaris at Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) on Tuesday, September 5, 2023.
Esther Passaris

He reiterated that the so-called rebel ODM  MPs were working closely with President Ruto while ignoring party positions on a number of national issues.

He particularly accused the leaders ofseeking cheap favours from those in power and deviating from party policy at a time when they were needed most.

“Loyalty, fidelity and love for one another are the three main reasons political parties grow. ODM shall not condone political infidelity in the name of some members seeking cheap political favours from those in power," Raila stated.

Raila had received backlash after ODM Party's National Executive Committee resolved to expel Lang'ata's MP Felix Odiwuor alias Jalang'o, Gem's Elisha Odhiambo, Kisumu Senator Tom Ojienda, Bondo's MP Gideon Ochanda, and their Suba South counterpart Caroli Omondi.

Music Copyright Society of Kenya Chief Executive Officer Ezekiel Mutua is one of the key figures who called out Raila for punishing the MPs, noting that it does make sense that the former Prime Minister is allowed to meet Ruto but not his party membership.

According to Mutua, Raila's party would rather have an incompetent MP who is a party loyalist and not a hardworking, knowledgeable and result oriented one who works with the government.

"Being friends with the President and collaborating with the Government of the day doesn't mean betrayal of the party. It's wisdom reloaded. You don't get development by insulting the President and shunning Government.

"People like Prof. Ojienda, Mark Nyamita and Jalang'o are some of the best MPs in the current parliament. They should break the spell of party captivity even if it costs them their seats," Mutua claimed.

However, Mutua also stated that he believes in political hygiene and fidelity to political parties.

"One doesn't have to throw away their brains in order to be loyal," Mutua claimed.

In another show of defiance, ODM on Friday, September 8, announced leadership changes which saw Kisii Governor Simba Arati appointed as the Deputy National Chairperson, taking over from former Kisii Woman Representative Janet Ong’era.

At the same time, ODM appointed Busia Woman Representative Catherine Omanyo as the new Deputy Secretary-General, taking over from Florence Mutua who since pleged allegiance to Ruto.

While Saboti MP Caleb Amisi was appointed as the new Deputy Organising Secretary to replace nominated MP Zulekha Hassan.

President William Ruto and Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua meet nine ODM MPs at State House on February 7, 2023.
President William Ruto and Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua meet nine ODM MPs at State House on February 7, 2023.
Photo: PCS