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Sunday, March 18, 2012
Mudavadi allies say quitting party out of question
By Stephen Makabila
As Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi takes his ODM presidential nomination campaigns to Isiolo on Sunday, his allies assert they will not ditch the Orange party.
They say no amount of propaganda will make the deputy party leader and his allies quit. Mudavadi’s camp says claims that Speaker Kenneth Marende and Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula are lined up to replace him in ODM should he take off do not bother them.
They, however, remain rigid on their push to have nominations at the counties. Mudavadi’s supporters are also dismiss a clause in the party constitution, which gives party leader Raila Odinga automatic presidential nomination.
By last weekend, Mudavadi had campaigned in 31 counties and from Friday, he hit the road with campaigns in Muranga, before moving to Nyeri on Saturday, Isiolo today, and Samburu County tomorrow. He has 12 more counties to wind up.
"Reports that Mudavadi may be planning an exit from ODM are propaganda. He cannot leave a permanent house to seek refuge in a grass-thatched house," said Shinyalu MP Justus Kizito.
Last week, some ODM MPs claimed the party was seeking alternatives in the event the contest between Mudavadi and the PM leads to a falling out.
Another Mudavadi ally, John Chikati, who is eyeing the seat of national organising secretary in ODM, also argued Mudavadi will have to fight from within ODM to the bitter end.
"At the moment, our position is that Mudavadi is in the race and any attempt to block him will not be accepted," said Chikati, a former Kimilili ODM chairman.
In dismissing the contentious clause in the party constitution, Kizito says the National Delegates Conference has never met to ratify it. "NDC has never met to ratify the clause. It was sneaked in and it remains illegal to date," said the MP.
A member of the ODM National Election Board Charles Welangai cautioned against attempts to use the clause to bar Mudavadi from the party’s nomination contest.
"The insincerity we are experiencing is not fair. Raila and Mudavadi should be subjected to a fair nomination process because they are all our leaders," said Welangai.
Welangai, who represents Western Province on the elections board, also dismissed claims by Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang’ that Mudavadi was keen on ditching the party.
"Mudavadi will not leave the party he has helped build. He has been seeking support from ODM delegates and not outsiders. Its only fair Kajwang’ addresses him as his senior in the party," added Welangai.
He further took issue with Budalangi MP Ababu Namwamba, saying the MP should know Mudavadi has support in Western Province and stop challenging him to quit the nomination race.
According to Kizito, Mudavadi wants the ODM nominations carried out at the county level and not at the NDC, as proposed by the Raila camp.
"We will be presenting our case during the National Executive Council meeting on March 23. We expect them to also argue their case to allow the top party organ to decide," added Kizito.
Apart from Kizito, Shinyalu MP Manyala Keya, George Khaniri (Hamisi), and Yusuf Chanzu (Vihiga) have been regular on Mudavadi’s campaign trail.
Kizito downplayed reports Marende or Wetangula could replace Mudavadi in case he exits the party.
And even as Mudavadi moves around Central and Rift Valley counties seeking support from ODM delegates, the G7 Alliance members have been raiding his Western stronghold in what has widely been dubbed prayer rallies. Saboti MP and presidential hopeful Eugene Wamalwa hosted the G7 leaders among them Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto in Kitale on Friday, and Kimilili, Bungoma and Busia on Saturday and today.
"The rallies are meant to consolidate support for our alliance in the region," Wamalwa told The Standard On Sunday.
Chikati, however, says Mudavadi was equally out to launch rallies in selected counties and constituencies after completing his ongoing tours of the 47 counties to meet ODM delegates.
"G7 can hold rallies in Western Province but they should know the Mudavadi camp has also lined-up rallies and door-to-door campaigns after tours to meet party delegates," added Chikati.