It has emerged that Uhuru Kenyatta strategists want Ababu Namwamba to stay in ODM and defect at the height of the 2017 campaigns thus puncturing the party if he will still be the party secretary general.
The scheme used to work well during the Moi era where Kanu targetted high profile politicians to desert the opposition without notice. ODM aware of the Namwamba plan has decided to cut him down to size by calling grassroots elections that will lead to national polls with word doing rounds that Namwamba will be shown the exit door.
Opinion across leading political parties in the country is converging on the likelihood that the ODM secretary general, through his recent provocative pronouncements, is restlessly scouting for an exit strategy to leave the Raila Odinga party and join the Jubilee of Uhuru Kenyatta and his William Ruto.
Though initially rumoured to be a close ally of Ruto and angling to ditch Raila to join URP ahead of 2017 elections, the outspoken legislator has astounded many a friend and foe across the country by increasingly oscillating between URP and the president himself while at the same time, getting friendlier with Amani coalition MPs in his native Luhyaland who are known to be Jubilee leaning.
Namwamba’s recent confrontational grand standing defending his place in ODM, his increasingly regular tough talk of being untouchable and irreplaceable as ODM secretary general plus his quick reference to his community: – Luhya as being the majority shareholder in ODM who should not be interfered with, has sent fears across the board that the man could have made up his mind a long time ago to quit the opposition.
His big money and helicopter-borne campaigns last year for the seat of ODM secretary generalship complete with a select team calling itself “ODM Fresh” which was made up of senior party members but not known to be fierce ODM diehards created ripples in the political terrain and even threatened to tear the opposition party down the middle. Some claimed the big money pointed to direct interference by URP who were keen to dismantle the ODM using planted national party officials led by the Namwamba team.
However, the attempt aborted after the elections at Kasarani degenerated into a fiasco and were called off. Party leader Raila Odinga later crafted a joint team of officials to lead the party naming Namwamba the new secretary general replacing long serving Kisumu senator Anyang Nyong’o.
Though others who had been in the 2014 “ODM Fresh” team of Namwamba and were absorbed into Raila’s makeshift joint executive like Mombasa governor Hassan Joho, Turkana’s Josephat Nanok and Adan Keynan have kept a low profile as Namwamba has remained restless, every time erupting with acrimonious developments around him.
His recent acrimonious removal from the chairmanship of the public accounts committee of parliament (believed to be the house’s most powerful and prestigious of oversight committees) in a cloud of corruption allegations directed at him and most members is one case in point that Raila has no time for him. While he battled the allegations as he tried to survive, the MP throughout blamed it on unnamed opponents within ODM. He claimed that they were framing him up to smear him as corrupt and incompetent to find grounds to kick him out of the position of secretary general of the ODM.
And immediately after his exit from the PAC chairmanship, Namwamba has assumed the leadership of a hitherto an amorphous grouping of Western province Jubilee-courting legislators and unified them into his new Western Parliamentary Caucus. The new group started off portraying themselves as a new economic activism outfit to rescue the dwindling economic fortunes of the region. But in quick succession, the group has come out as forcefully driving the political allegiance of Western province into Jubilee.
The new reality was powerfully conveyed when non other than Namwamba himself led a team of 25 Western MPs to State House Nairobi to see Uhuru where the handing over of the Sh1 billion towards the rescuing of collapsing Mumias Sugar Company was sealed and followed immediately with Uhuru’s follow-up visit to Mumias Sugar Complex where he symbolically handed over the cheque in an elaborate ceremony that was preceded with major road side rallies across Kakamega county in which Namwamba was treated to a celebrity status by the president and the deputy president and given opportunity to address choreographed gatherings. It has emerged that Luhya MPs allied to Jubilee are bitter lot after discovering that Namwamba was given Sh10 million to coordinate the visit by Uhuru and Ruto at Mumias. Observers would have noticed Namwamba walking on streets with a microphone in one hand praising the two bosses as they were driven around.
The previously painted impression that the WPC project was an economic activism pursuit by Western MPs and that its leaders were renown economists: John Bunyasi of Nambale –UDF and Malulu Injendi, Malava – Independent was disapproved during the presidential tour when Namwamba was treated publicly as a Jubilee trophy catch on display to the public and given princely handling and opportunity better than other top leaders from the region notably: Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula, Amani coalition leader Musalia Mudavadi, cabinet secretary Eugene Wamalwa, governors Kenneth Lusaka of Bungoma, Wycliffe Oparanya, Kakamega and prominent area senators Bonny Khalwale and Amos Wako of Kakamega and Busia respectively.
Namwamba would walk out of the Mumias coronation by the twin Jubilee top brass parading as a politically itchy man, jumping at every opportunity to justify his love affair with the presidency and throwing around many comparisons with his party leaderwho also shared a podium in Kisumu with the president.
Besides, he claims that there are people within Cord who are condemning him as a Jubilee mole for his recent engagements with the presidency and that they are plotting to topple him as ODM secretary general.
Shockingly, his alarmist pronouncements about such plans come at a time when no known ODM big-wigs are castigating him in any way.
It is this chorus of crying wolf and claiming he is being targetted that has sent tongues wagging and many are instead reading clever moves by the MP to annoy any irritable ODM hawks to take him on so that he can generate a verbal exchange to use to justify his “looming defection”.
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