A former top aide of Cord leader Raila Odinga has said the Opposition alliance will never lead Kenya unless it cleanses itself internally first.
Caroli Omondi, who once served as Chief of Staff in Raila’s now-defunct Office of the Prime Minister, claimed that ODM is not as democratic as it wants its supporters to believe, given the way it holds its party nominations.
In his first public appearance since Cord lost the general election to the Jubilee Alliance, Caroli said many potential governor and parliamentary aspirants ditched the Orange party for other outfits after they realised that the party primaries would not be free and fair.
“In a county like Kajiado, most of the MPs are from the United Republican Party, except for Joseph Nkaiserry, while in the presidential vote, Raila defeated President Uhuru Kenyatta hands down. What does this mean? It shows this was an Orange zone, only that the parliamentary aspirants who were popular with the masses but unpopular with Orange House [ODM headquarters] left the party for another outfit,” Caroli said.
He was speaking in Suba constituency, Homa Bay county, during a function to instal Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero as a Suba elder. The ceremony was held at St Gabriel’s Gwasii Girls.
Speaking to the Star separately, Suna East MP Junet Mohammed, a close ally of Raila, asked Caroli to keep off Cord’s political matters as he lacks the moral authority to criticise the Opposition.
Junet accused Omondi of having himself been the architect of the shambolic ODM nominations when he served as chief of staff, saying he interfered with party matters. He said Omondi dished out nomination certificates to his cronies and friends.
“His interference in ODM matters cost the party moral authority. He should be the last man to offer political advice to Cord,” Junet said. “Apart from PNU, Omondi was one of the problems we faced during the 2007-2012 term. He interfered with party issues that were not his domain. The earlier he keeps off Cord matters, the better,” he said.
ODM Communications officer Maseme Machuka also poured cold water on Omondi’s assertions, saying Kenyans have trust in the former Prime Minister.
“It is not in his purview to offer unsolicited counsel to Cord. The coalition has not asked him for his assessments and, as such, he has no authority to judge Cord in any manner whatsoever,” Maseme told the Star.
Caroli had said at the weekend function that despite owning the building, Orange House, in Nairobi’s Kilimani area, he was not party to the “dirty goings-on” that take place there.
“All of you know that I own the Orange House building, but I gave out the keys to the current occupants a long time ago; my only title at the moment is an ODM benefactor or ODM sponsor,” he said, amid laughter from the crowd.
Caroli said that in Kasipul constituency, there are more than 60,000 registered voters, yet Raila got less than 40,000 votes. “Many aspirants vied for the Kasipul parliamentary seat during the ODM primaries and the winner was taken round in circles, instead of being issued with the certificate. How will his supporters feel if the loser is given the certificate? The eventual loser will be Raila, because the supporters of the winner will boycott the general elections,” Caroli said.
Oyugi Magwanga is the current MP for Kasipul. He vied for the seat against educationist Odoyo Owidi. Caroli also hit out at Raila allies, claiming they were at the forefront in misleading the Coalition leader.
“We are tired of singing mapambano [a slogan associated with Senator Otieno Kajwang’] in rallies, yet we cannot bring the same mapambano to the ballot during voting. It pains that some people amongst us are at the forefront in criticising fundraisers, yet this is the only way we can give back to the community. Those popular in singing mapambano in rallies and burials hardly attend harambees,” he said.
Caroli said that many projects were lagging behind in Nyanza because the common man had been made to believe that it was taboo to support President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government.
“The people of Nyanza are tired of mapambano and are ready to work with the government of the day. Let us not be misled, we should be willing to distinguish between the Jubilee administration and the central government.”
– The Star