ODM has demonstrated why perhaps it remains the most formidable political party in the contemporary political space in Kenya- that they do not easily kowtow to whims of detractors.
Days after a section of Coast lawmakers threatened to spit the orange flavor, the party has turned around and linked those legislators threatening to cut ties with the party over the revenue sharing stalemate to the Tangatanga faction, whose members are allied to DP William Ruto.
In a statement on Friday, the party said there was no way Tangatanga MPs could sever “non-existent ties with ODM”.
The lawmakers included Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa and Mohammed Ali (Nyali), who claimed that despite their unwavering political support for Mr Raila Odinga’s party over the years, they have been neglected on important national issues
Addressing the press at Parliament Buildings, they said ODM’s decision to support the revenue sharing formula was a clear demonstration of betrayal
The formula, if adopted, would see Mombasa County lose Sh513 million, Kwale Sh1.213 billion, Kilifi Sh1.192 billion, Tana River Sh458 million and Taita-Taveta Sh388 million.
ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna noted thus: “The first noticeable thing about this group was that there was no single senator in it, meaning that the MPs were purporting to deal with a matter they had no business discussing,” Mr Sifuna said.
“The second, and most obvious, is that a majority of the members who issued the statement are not even members of ODM and the few who are, have had long known leanings to the Tangatanga side of Kenyan politics, making their views very easy to contextualise.”
He said it was common knowledge that the party expelled Ms Jumwa long ago.
“She continues to fraudulently hang onto her seat only courtesy of a court order. She long severed ties with the party whilst still occupying a position of responsibility as a commissioner in the Public Service Commission courtesy of the party. She and her acolytes cannot, therefore, purport to cut links that don’t exist,” the ODM spokesperson said.
Mr Sifuna further said many factors make Raila popular among the masses in the larger Coast region.
“They include the firm stand on Coastal land rights, devolution, education, employment rights and mainstreaming of minority issues,” he said.
“Incidentally, it is the party’s strong stand on these issues that routinely invites the ire of opponents, led by people who believe that a continually ignorant population is fodder for their land-grabbing tin god, whose affinity for enslavement of the ignorant is now the stuff of legend.”
He added: “If the Coast Tangatanga MPs cared to read a little history, they would know devolution was born out of the passionate desire of the great Ronald Ngala for Majimboism, a task which both Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and the Rt Hon Raila Odinga pushed to fruition so as to empower marginalised communities at the Coast which explains the latter’s popularity at the Coast.”
Sifuna averred that Coastal counties enjoy semi-autonomy in revenue and expenditure and a greater say in tourist earnings, port use and land rights blueprints.
“It has been a painstaking journey but one that moves in the right direction unhindered. Raila’s love for the people of the Coast, and their love right back, is the worst kept secret in this land,” he said, adding that Tangatanga MPs must be reminded that “were it not for Raila and ODM, there wouldn’t even be county revenue to fight over in the first place.”
He went on: “It is not in our place to tell the MPs what their role should be but we are constrained to mention that on top of the devolution that Raila delivered, they would be more relevant calling pressers to show their CDF projects, schools, combating teen pregnancies, addressing skewed employment policies in local industries and tourist facilities, and the poverty menace at the Coast.”