The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Bitter Exchange in Front of Raila

PARTY leader Raila Odinga yesterday watch in Naivasha as the leaders of the two ODM factions exchanged bitter words before him.

Budalang'i MP Ababu Namwamba clashed with Otieno Kajwang, who wants to be ODM vice chairman, after he said that ODM delegates will only vote for people who are loyal to the party.

Ababu challenged Kajwang and Raila's aide Eliud Owalo to " be man enough and explain who the Jubilee moles are instead of spreading malicious rumours against him and his camp".

Some ODM members have accused Jubilee of using unnamed party members to cause the chaos that is threatening to break up the party before its elections at the end of February.

The bitter exchange took place during the two day Cord retreat in Great Rift Valley Lodge in Naivasha. Each constituent party met on its own in the morning before they met as Cord later in the day .

At the ODM meeting, Kajwang and Owalo accused Ababu in front of Raila of being insincere in his plans to vie for the post of Secretary General.

Kajwang's camp includes Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho, who wants to be deputy Party Leader, Senator Agnes Zani who wants to be Secretary General, and Paul Utuoma who wants to be party Chairman.

Ababu's camp includes Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya who wants to be Deputy Party Leader, Turkana governor Joseph Nanok who wants to be Chairman.

An angry Ababu told Kajwang and Owalo that it was wrong to paint others as less loyal to the party and insisted that party members should campaign with dignity.

After Ababu spoke, Raila asked Kajwang to respond. The Homa Bay senator denied accusing any specific person of being a Jubilee mole.

"I told him that that I did not name anyone and was even unaware that my remarks had offended anyone," Kajwang told the Star later.

Owalo was also upset and reportedly confronted the Budalang'i MP after the meeting.

Addressing the press later, ODM secretary general Anyang Nyongo denied that there was any altercation.

"Reports that there was a scuffle between our party members are false and misleading as we are a united front," he said.

Cord principal and Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang'ula defended the absence of Cord chief whip Johnstone Muthama who was conspicuously absent.

He said that the Cord coalition had instituted measures to deal with the TNA majority in Parliament before it reopens on Tuesday.

Wetang'ula was flanked by Raila, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, senators and MPs from the coalition.

Reading the resolutions, nominated MP Isaac Mwaura accused the government of not doing enough to deal with the impact of drought.

"We take great exception to the manner in which the Jubilee administration is handling the ravaging famine, mainly in Turkana," he said.

Mwaura said last week's police raid on Masjid Musa mosque in Mombasa was "barbaric, irrelevant and brutal".

"Cord reiterates its sympathies and support to the people of Mombasa and will initiate measures to ensure justice is done," he said.

The Cord leaders said that institutionalized corruption was increasing and cited the standard gauge railway and the NSSF Tassia housing project.

They condemned the increase of fees in public secondary schools.

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