A group of ODM lawmakers is planning to push out embattled party Secretary-General Ababu Namwamba in the wake of revelations that he secretly recorded a meeting with party leader Raila Odinga.
Sources close to the former Prime Minister said the Budalang’i MP’s action had raised questions about loyalty and trust, placing Mr Namwamba’s position as ODM Secretary-General and chairman of the powerful Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in jeopardy.
However, Mr Namwamba vowed that he would not go down alone, declaring that he would spill the beans on corruption in National Assembly committees to clear his name.
The latest drama around Mr Namwamba come as National Assembly investigations into corruption allegations against the Public Accounts Committee start today.
Kuresoi North MP Moses Cheboi (Kanu), who will chair the House Business Committee investigations as directed by Speaker Justin Muturi, said the team would hold its first meeting today to lay the groundwork for the investigations. He told the Nation that his team would reduce the period of the investigations from the 21 days they were given by the Speaker.
Outside Parliament, a section of ODM legislators were expected to meet Mr Odinga on Sunday evening to discuss Mr Namwamba’s conduct and the issues the recording had raised.
Sources said that even though the recording did not portray the Cord leader trying to cover up the allegations raised against the Budalang’i MP, it would be difficult for him to rally his party members behind Mr Namwamba.
MPs Junet Mohamed (Suna East), Abdikadir Aden Omar (Balambala), Ibrahim Abass (Ijara), Nicholas Gumbo (Rarieda) and TJ Kajwang (Ruaraka) expressed their reservations about the recording and urged the National Assembly’s Powers and Privileges Committee to move quickly and make the final decision on PAC.
Mr Mohamed, who is also ODM’s elections director, was critical of Mr Namwamba’s conduct and said the party would meet to make a decision in the wake of the allegations. He was highly critical of the secret recording.
“It is wrong to record our party leader. It is unacceptable and the height of insubordination. If one can do this, how far can he go?” he asked in a telephone interview with the Nation.
He revealed that on the evening of February 22, Mr Namwamba invited him and Mr Odinga to a meeting at the Fairview Hotel to seek the former PM’s help against the vote of no-confidence he was facing as PAC chairman. Mr Namwamba was in the company of Nakuru Town West MP Samwel Arama, a former PAC member.
“He told us how people have ‘eaten’ money yet he was being blamed for it. The (former) PM was not aware he was being recorded. How do you go to seek help and end up recording your party leader?” asked Mr Mohamed.
He accused Mr Namwamba of holding ODM to ransom over the past two years, beginning with party elections and now the corruption allegations within PAC.
SILENT FOR LONG
“It is time he gave us a breather. PAC issues should be sorted with PAC. Going forward, now within ODM, people will not be allowed to a meeting with phones, cameras or keys,” he said.
But Mr Namwamba warned that he had been silent for long and was now ready to speak out to root out corruption in government. “I don’t need to be the PAC chair, but I will remain fighting injustice. The national government should brace for a real war beginning next week,” he said.
He said the recordings would exonerate him against the corruption claims levelled against him by some MPs.
“I have not been supported to a good extent by my party leader or Mr Moses Wetang’ula (Senate Minority Leader) as many media outlets have been reporting. Starting this week, I am going on an offensive aided by the truth,” said Mr Namwamba in an interview with the Sunday Nation.
Some members of the PAC, usually chaired by an MP from the main Opposition party, have been accused of receiving bribes running into millions of shillings to doctor reports on corruption investigations in key government departments.
Mr Namwamba is also accused of leaking confidential information to the media, allocating himself foreign trips and soliciting bribes.
Mr Aden accused the Budalang’i MP of being driven by ill intentions to record a meeting with Mr Odinga and asked him to fight his own wars within PAC.
“He should carry his own cross and stop dragging the party leader into it. His conduct as secretary-general is now in question,” said the MP.