Kenya: Raila Odinga Meets 'Renegades' Ahead of BBI Senate Vote

ODM leader Raila Odinga yesterday hosted perceived party renegades Siaya senator James Orengo, Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo as he sought to calm growing tension in the party ahead of today's Senate vote on the BBI Bill.

The meeting that was also attended by Kitui governor Charity Ngilu came in the backdrop of a litany of allegations levelled against the trio that they were hostile to the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

Sources familiar with the discussions yesterday told Nation that Mr Orengo and Mr Oparanya were the first to arrive at Mr Odinga's Karen home before they were joined by Ms Ngilu and Mr Amollo was later called in.

Nation gathered that Ms Ngilu brokered the talks between Mr Odinga and the trio and could have played an active role in securing a date for the leaders with the former premier a day after they held talks in Western.

Other sources, however, revealed that it was Mr Oparanya who booked an appointment with Mr Odinga.

Covid-19 situation

"We discussed a number of issues ranging from BBI, politics to the current Covid-19 situation in the country. We agreed that there is an urgent need to remain united as we have a bigger enemy ahead of us," Ms Ngilu told Nation on the phone after the meeting.

She went on: "I was privileged to be among them because all of us want to take this country to the same direction and want the best for Kenyans."

Mr Oparanya said the talks revolved around BBI even as Nation established that they pledged their loyalty to the ODM leader amid growing tension.

"Our meeting should dispel rumours of rebellion in ODM as this are wishful thinking of our political detractors. I thank our sister H.E Ngilu for her support," said Mr Oparanya.

BBI, he noted, dominated the discussions "as we assured the former PM of our commitment to the passage of the document."

Sources revealed that Ms Ngilu, however, excused herself from the meeting which "was turning tense" as Mr Odinga sought answers over alleged DP Ruto link to the trio.

"It was a very tense meeting. Mama Ngilu left them there as they discussed pertinent issues in ODM that border on loyalty and claims the trio were fast dripping to the DP's camp which has been critical of the BBI Bill," the source revealed.

Mr Odinga is said to have taken issue with Mr Orengo's sentiments on the floor of the House on Thursday last week where he appeared to dare him and President Uhuru Kenyatta over his stance on the BBI Bill.

"I can never be intimated in my political life because I have seen many people come and go, I have seen many powerful people come and go," he said last Thursday.

He found himself in trouble with ODM leadership for criticising provisions of the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

Yesterday, insiders in Mr Odinga's camp revealed that the ODM leader was not convinced by the trio on their political operandi, following Mr Oparanya's recent overtures to the DP.

"Oparanya is said to be worried about his political future both in ODM and Western Kenya."

"Orengo on the other hand is seen to be driven by anger that he is not really at the table where Raila and Uhuru make critical decisions with regard to their plans and also fear of where he belongs in the post 2022 formations," said the source in Mr Odinga's camp.

Mr Odinga is said to have told Mr Orengo to support the BBI Bill.

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