Kenya: Governor Oparanya Wades Into ODM Wrangles

Kakamega Governor and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) deputy party leader Wycliffe Oparanya on Wednesday waded into the wrangles plaguing his party over the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020 and warned that the disquiet was unhealthy for the party.

Mr Oparanya said unless the issue of the proposed creation of the 70 constituencies was exhaustively addressed by the National Assembly and the Senate, it would be a huge challenge for the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Bill to get the support of ordinary Kenyans at the referendum.

He spoke a day after ODM fired a warning shot to party rebels by ejecting Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo from a parliamentary committee that considered the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

Dr Amollo was ousted from the Justice and legal Affairs Committee, where he served as vice chairperson,days after ODM chairman John Mbadi reprimanded party members who signed the committee report that branded sections of the proposed law as unconstitutional.

On his part, Governor Oparanya said the party had structures to which could be used to resolve the matter.

"The issue of the 70 constituencies is a touchy matter and it could bring problems and end up diving the country if the National Assembly and the Senate are not allowed to ventilate on the issue and come up with a consensus," said Mr Oparanya.

The Kakamega governor said: "It will be very difficult for wananchi to support BBI if the issue of constituencies is not resolved."

The jitters within Mr Odinga's backyard have attracted the attention of the Luo council of elders.

Last Friday, Mr Odungi Randa, a member of the Luo council of elders, told the Nation that they will be meeting to discuss way the forward on how to bring together all the leaders to calm the storm before it gets out of hand.

Mr Randa also raised concern about a section of Luo elected leaders who he said had abandoned the opposition chief, leaving him exposed to attacks from all fronts.

He also came to the defence of Siaya Senator James Orengo, saying there is nobody who has been loyal to Mr Odinga.

He stated that if at all there is disagreement over BBI, then it should be discussed and agreed upon instead of airing dirty linen in public.

"If you want to know that individual who has been loyal and steadfast in his support for Jakom, that is Orengo who is also a fighter and always on the fore front during battles we have been involved in," said Mr Randa.

He indicated he would be consulting with Duol, the Luo leaders' caucus bringing together all leaders from the community in Nyanza region as well as those in Nairobi for a meeting to to forge a way forward for the community ahead of the next year's polls.

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