Kenya: Ousted Wetang'ula Vows to Strike Back At Raila

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Nasa leader Raila Odinga conclude a joint press conference about the country's growth, at Harambee House in Nairobi on March 9, 2018.

Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang'ula on Sunday gave up the fight to retain Senate minority leader's position, but promised his opponents in the House as well as Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga a bruising political battle.

The Ford-Kenya leader was last week ousted as minority leader by National Super Alliance senators in favour of his Siaya counterpart, Mr James Orengo of ODM.

During a news conference in Bungoma town on Sunday -- attended by, among others, Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi -- Mr Wetang'ula said he would not attend the coalition retreat called by Mr Odinga to iron out the differences that led to his removal.

IRREVERSIBLE

"What is there to be discussed?" he asked.

"I will not participate in the retreat because it will be like a goat subjecting itself to a court of hyenas."

On the Senate seat, he declared: "Wakae nayo, ahsante. (Let them keep the seat, thanks.) We shall give them small but lethal doses."

On Saturday, Senate Minority Whip Mutula Kilonzo Jnr told the Nasa leadership to keep off the affairs of the coalition's senators, and declared that Mr Wetang'ula's removal was irreversible and it was "not the worst thing" that has ever happened to the opposition alliance.

UNREPENTANT

The mood within the coalition seems to have left the Bungoma senator with no option other than to throw in the towel before he is humiliated for the second time should the retreat take place.

He, however, remains unrepentant, and was categorical on Sunday that he did not beg for the Senate minority seat in the first place.

The decision to give him the position, he pointed out, was made by his Nasa co-principals as one of the ways to maintain the synergy of the opposition in the House.

BARKING DOGS

When voting out Mr Wetang'ula on Tuesday, Nasa senators said he had a condescending attitude, and that he had described their attempts to impeach him as "the barking of dogs" yet he could engage with "the owner of the dogs", apparently referring to Mr Odinga.

"We put all our resources and energies to this enterprise but we've nothing to show as the mulembe nation," he said during a press conference at Bungoma Club, using the opportunity to attract the sympathies of the western voters by castigating Nasa.

"I've been branded as an embattled leader. Let me declare here and now that I'm very much at peace with myself."

REHEARSED

He termed the Nasa summit in which the efforts to reconcile him with the senators flopped a talk shop.

"I thought the status quo would be reaffirmed but was subjected to name calling and humiliation. The statements made in the meeting seem to have been cleverly rehearsed to embarrass me," Mr Wetang'ula said.

Besides fellow Nasa principal Mudavadi, others at the briefing were Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati, former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale, MPs Wafula Wamunyinyi (Kanduyi), Eseli Simiyu (Tongaren) and Ayub Savula (Lugari).

SIDELINED

Mr Mudavadi faulted talks between Mr Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta for sidelining other Nasa co-principals, saying the country needed "a constructive, broad-based, all-inclusive dialogue".

Nobody has exclusive rights to negotiate," he said.

"Canaan yetu si Harambee House, bado tunaendelea mbele (the Canaan we promised Kenya is not Harambee House; we are still soldiering on."

In Machakos County, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka preached unity, saying it was possible to register Nasa as a political party without the constituent outfits losing their identity.

FRIVOLOUS

"Time has come to register Nasa as a party without dissolving Wiper, ODM, ANC and Ford-Kenya," he said on Saturday during a thanksgiving ceremony in honour of Machakos Woman Representative Joyce Kamene.

Had Nasa been registered as a party, Mr Wetang'ula would not have been ousted, Mr Musyoka said, adding that the reasons advanced for the removal of the Bungoma senator were frivolous.

He admitted the coalition was experiencing internal problems but expressed optimism that all would be okay.

PARTIES MERGER

"I know there is a lot of bitterness and a lot of suspicion but I will do as much as I can to hold us together," Mr Musyoka said, adding like Mr Wetang'ula and Mr Mudavadi, that dialogue should be all-inclusive and not a Raila-Uhuru affair.

But as Mr Musyoka was talking of registering Nasa as a party, Mr Mudavadi was hinting at plans for western Kenya parties to merge and form a formidable political outfit ahead of 2022 elections.

"Other regions have done it. I don't see the reason we should not do it," he said.

"We, as western leaders, stand with Mr Wetang'ula."

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