Plans are afoot to kick Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba and ODM executive director Magerer Langat out of the party, according to sources.
The sources disclosed that MPs allied to Mr Raila Odinga planned to petition the party’s Parliamentary Group to kick out the two youthful politicians for their perceived dalliance with the Jubilee Coalition.
Accusations have piled up against Mr Namwamba and Mr Langat since Mr Odinga’s return from the US in May and their subsequent skipping of many activities linked to the Cord alliance referendum campaign, including the Saba Saba rally at Uhuru Park, the Tononoka rally in Mombasa, and other rallies in Kakamega, Busia and Kisumu.
Only last month, ODM risked a falling out at the Coast when it removed Minority Whip in the National Assembly Gideon Mung’aro, and now planned the same for Mr Namwamba, who is chairman of the Parliamentary Accounts Committee.
The disclosure emerged even as Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho defended Mr Namwamba against claims that anti-ODM forces sponsored his campaign to take over the party’s leadership at the aborted delegates convention in February.
Mr Joho, who was in Mr Namwamba’s election line-up, warned Mr Odinga’s allies against making wild and unsubstantiated claims regarding their campaign.
He was responding to claims by Mr Odinga’s elder brother, Dr Oburu Oginga, that Mr Namwamba was on the payroll of ODM’s foes in government who, according to him, paid for four helicopters used in the party campaigns.
“I personally paid for the four choppers our line-up used during the campaigns so unless he is branding me Mr Namwamba’s paymaster, he does not know what he is talking about. These people must be very careful what they say, I’m warning against such reckless talk,” said the Mombasa governor.
Mr Odinga’s office, however, denied knowledge of any plans to de-whip Mr Namwamba and strip him of the PAC chairmanship. De-whipping is the device by which a political party in Parliament disciplines an errant member by removing him from House committees.
Through spokesman Dennis Onyango, Mr Odinga said he was not aware of any plans to discipline the Budalang’i MP over his utterances at the weekend that the former Prime Minister lacked the moral authority to push for a referendum that questions the credibility of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission when he could not preside over a credible party election.
Cord Minority Leader in the National Assembly Jakoyo Midiwo said it was unfortunate that a senior party member, who should weigh what he says carefully, should utter such words.
While denying knowledge of the moves to remove Mr Namwamba from PAC, he said the utterances of the Budalang’i MP were not likely to go down well.
“Ababu is a senior member of our party and he can do better. I doubt that the words he spoke would augur well for the young leaders in the party. It is likely to bring indiscipline in the party,” he told the Nation by phone.
The Gem MP advised Mr Namwamba to forget about the party elections and move on.
“The elections aborted in Kasarani. If it were me, I would leave the leadership of the party to the old officials and the party leader,” he said.
His statement suggests that there may be an intention to have Kisumu Senator Anyang’ Nyong’o, who had stepped down ahead of the delegates conferences, resume office as party secretary-general.
After the elections flopped, ODM was put in the hands of a caretaker committee made up of the two rival camps.
Dr Oginga had claimed that Mr Namwamba was working with ODM’s enemies to wreck the party, charging that his utterances against the ODM leadership and the referendum campaign were meant for the ears of his alleged sponsors in Jubilee.