Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) MPs from Nyanza have rejected a proposal that the region should let go of the party’s secretary-general’s seat as intense lobbying continued ahead its national elections next month.
Two meetings by the MPs at the Nairobi Safari Club and the Laico Regency accused former Prime Minister Raila Odinga of working on a plot to compel leaders from the region not to contest the position, which is currently held by Kisumu Senator Anyang’ Nyong’o.
Senator James Orengo and Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo were part of a group of MPs close to Mr Odinga who met at the Safari Club Hotel, while Kisumu Central MP Ken Obura led the Laico meeting on Monday night.
MPs who spoke in the two meetings accused Mr Odinga of being unreasonable in his plot to have the region back nominated Senator Agnes Zani for the position and warned he would face a major rebellion.
Rongo MP Dalmas Otieno told the Nation that Nyanza leaders would be intolerant to any attempt to cajole them out of powerful positions.
“We still remember what Martin Shikuku did when he was the Ford secretary-general and as the heartbeat of the party we have a feeling that this position should be retained by Nyanza,” he said.
“Our people have not even forgotten how Daniel Maanzo seized ODM-K certificate and ran away with it in the middle of an election season.”
He declared he will contest the position and accused people at Mr Odinga’s office of circulating a “fake” line-up to cause confusion in the party.
And Mr Obura who met several MPs from across the country to rally support for his interest in the same position, warned that Mr Odinga could lose the party if the elections were mishandled.
“Our aim is to help revitalise the party from the grassroots, strengthen the branches and devolve some of the party services,” Mr Obura said.
The MP’s supporters boycotted the Nairobi Safari Club meeting which was attended by Mr Odinga’s old allies who are drawing their own line-up.
Mr Orengo, nominated Senator Elizabeth Ongoro and MPs Nicholas Gumbo and John Mbadi are interested in the position.
On Tuesday, MPs from Western will be meeting in Kakamega to strategise on the elections. Former Speaker Kenneth Marende is being touted for the position of national chairman.
Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba and Funyula lawmaker Paul Otuoma are also vying for top national posts.
As lobbying intensified, sources in the party indicated that Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho is now being pushed to contest the chairman’s post and Mr Marende for Deputy Party Leader.
Dr Otuoma and Tigania East MP Mpuri Aburi have also declared interest in the chairman’s position.
Mr Odinga is expected to defend his position of Party Leader as he prepares for another shot at the presidency in 2017. No one else has declared interest in that position.