Mudavadi and Raila Part Ways
Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi has finally quit the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), ending months of speculation and internal wrangling in the party.
In an address televised live from Kakamega, Mr Mudavadi asked his supporters for patience as he consulted before announcing which party he would move to.
He spoke at a meeting of leaders from western Kenya two hours after Prime Minister Raila Odinga said in Meru that Mr Mudavadi was free to leave the Orange party.
And when Mr Mudavadi communicated his decision he said; â€œWhen one door is shut, another one must open.â€
He added: â€œWhen we leave here, no one should have doubt that Mudavadi is backtracking. This time, there is no reverse gear; we are going to the end.â€
He also said that he would seek to build political bridges across the country before announcing which party he would vie the presidency on.
â€œWe must seek to build bridges with leaders from other places. This is not about a tribal agenda. This meeting is to say what we can do to offer ourselves in the opportunity to lead this country.â€
Cabinet ministers, MPs and leaders who spoke before him told Mr Mudavadi that his continued stay in ODM was untenable and it was time he announced a new political vehicle.
Mr Mudavadi and Mr Odinga have been engaged in a contest for the ODM ticket for the presidency.
While the party constitution stipulates that the party leader will be the automatic presidential candidate, Mr Mudavadi had wanted that changed to give members a chance to vote afresh for a flag bearer.
He had also proposed that each county vote separately instead of gathering delegates in Nairobi to make the decision.
But ODM has already filed its party constitution with the Registrar of Political Parties with secretary general Anyangâ€™ Nyongâ€™o saying that the changes Mr Mudavadi and his supporters wanted would come in due course.
But on Saturday, Mr Mudavadi said that going by the law would mean that the changes would come too late in the day for him and he would not be able to jump ship and vie for the presidency if he was dissatisfied.
â€œWe are not in enmity with anyone but we are in political contest and Kenyans have a right to choose who they would like as long as he or she has presented himself in the prescribed manner. I want to give Kenyans that opportunity,â€ Mr Mudavadi said.
Former Cabinet minister Mukhisa Kituyi said members of the Luhya community needed to walk together if they wanted to succeed in supporting Mr Mudavadi to run for the top seat.
Speaker after speaker urged Mr Mudavadi to tread carefully and pick a political party and build alliances that would be widely acceptable.
Speaking during the second day of his visit to Meru, Mr Odinga said anyone uncomfortable in the Orange party was free to leave.
Addressing ODM delegates from Meru county, the Premier said he had yielded to most of Mr Mudavadiâ€™s demands including the mode of party nomination and the issue of the party leader becoming the automatic presidential flag bear.
He said he was not bothered by competition from Mr Mudavadi since he had a right to express his ambition.
Mr Odinga said the party tolerated internal democracy, the reason it conducted nominations on five candidates who were seeking to run on the party ticket in 2007.
â€œIf someone wants to leave the party he is free to do so. The party does not belong to an individual but to all members. In 2007, we were five of us and we went through the nomination.
â€œThe others became Pentagon members. Maybe the same people have the same ambition and want to try their luck. We have as a party yielded so much ground on the demands that were being made.
â€œHe wanted county polls and we have agreed. We have not chased anyone away and you canâ€™t force one to stay.
â€œMr Mudavadi has not said he wants to leave and if he wins, I will support him. If there is anyone who wants to leave, let him go,â€ he said.
He said the party was the most popular and enjoyed over 50 per cent following.
â€œOur opponents are saying that Raila is beleaguered yet they are trailing us in terms of popularity. ODM will stand strong. The tree that bears fruits is the one that has stones thrown at,â€ he said.
He recounted the gains made since the clamour for the second liberation started saying many people had been killed through political assassinations, others inflicted severe injuries and tens jailed in the fight for the freedoms being enjoyed today.
Mr Odinga said those who were involved in the struggle were best suited to implement the new constitution and steer the country forward.
Mr Odingaâ€™s wife Ida gave a moving account of the troubles she underwent while his husband was jailed for 10 years during the struggle for the second liberation.
He was hosted by Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara, former Igembe North legislator Maoka Maore and ODM activist Mpuri Aburi.
Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang, South Mugirango MP Manson Nyamweya and his Budalangâ€™i counterpart Ababu Namwamba, drummed up support for Mr Odinga saying he had a national outlook.
Source: Daily Nation