JIENJOY

Monday, February 22, 2010

BLACKMAIL

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party on Monday accused its coalition partner Party of National Unity (PNU) and the National Security Intelligence Service of blackmail and launching a smear campaign against its leaders.

Party leaders Anyang' Nyong'o (Secretary General), Hassan Joho (Organising Secretary), Janet Ongera (Executive Director) and deputy chief whip Magerer Langat said it was as if PNU had never learnt from the “tragic experience of Kenyans following the debacle of 2007 presidential elections.”

The officials, together with deputy organising secretary Reuben Ndolo and vice-chair Lydia Kimani said PNU and the NSIS have been circulating a document purporting to be from ODM strategic Think Tank aimed at discrediting the party and its leaders in eyes of Kenyans.

“From the content (of the document), it can only serve the interests of PNU or its sympathisers. What is worse, however, is that it is meant to create despondency and political instability in Kenya,” Prof Nyong’o said.

Addressing journalists at Orange House in Nairobi, ODM said it had written to the NSIS in a letter copied to President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to complain about the document titled “Fourth Quarter Memo” and demanded for investigations of its authors.

The party said a similar document was circulated in 2007 purporting to be from the ODM strategic team aimed at misinforming Kenyans and creating disaffection among communities.

“As a body in charge of security in this nation, I am requesting you to investigate the source of this document and to put a stop to such shenanigans aimed at sowing the seeds of hatred among Kenyans,” the letter to NSIS said in part.

It added that ODM remained committed to “open and clean” politics to promote democracy and good governance.

Prof Nyong'o warned that malicious political propaganda could affect healing and reconciliation efforts in the country and return the country back to chaos.

The document showed alleged plans by ODM to win elections, which it claims should be held before February 2011, and strategy for the party to penetrate various regions in the country.

Prof Nyong'o denied that there were divisions in ODM saying the party's strength lies in unity of the people more than harmony among leaders.

"We are not experiencing cracks. Although there are some differences we cannot gag people," he said.

The secretary general said threats by three ODM ministers to defy the party position and attend Cabinet meetings before current crisis in government were addressed were null and void, as no meeting had been held. He said the Cabinet couldn’t be called when the country was still in crisis.

MPs who have been insisting there is no crisis knew little what the government is about, he added.

"They are very far from centre of power," he said

Agriculture Minister William Ruto and a number of PNU MPs have been insisting there was no crisis in government contrary to Mr Odinga’s statements.

Mr Odinga has sought a meeting with President Kibaki to agree on various issues including action to be taken against ministers mentioned in graft.

The crisis heightened when President Kibaki reversed Mr Odinga's move to suspend Mr Ruto and Education Minister Sam Ongeri over scandals in their ministries.

Mr Ruto, Tourism Minister Najib Balala and Sports and Youth Affairs Hellen Sambili have vowed to defy ODM's stand and attend Cabinet meetings.

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