Open revolt in ODM as President Uhuru Kenyatta visits Kisumu

ODM party leader Raila Odinga

By The Weekly Vision Team

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Madaraka Day speech in Kisumu on June 1st could drift into a political storm especially within the ODM party ranks as party supremo Raila Odinga faces a growing rebellion in his home-turf.

 Raila has pitched a tent in Kisumu to calm down the raging storm ahead of the president’s visit. Murmurs of protest and open dissent had erupted after Odinga cousin Jakoyo Midiwo fired salvos at Siaya senator James Orengo.

Midiwo accused Orengo, of speaking from “two sides of his mouth” saying it is common knowledge the respected party legal counsel is “undermining Raila’s leadership.” And as Midiwo ranted, a close aide to Orengo also a legal counsel, Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo blew hot and cold over the President’s visit.

MP Otiende Otiende questioned why the ongoing work at Kisumu port, Nakuru-Kisumu-Butere-Busia railway and Muhoroni-Mamboleo were “sluggish and had “badly stalled.” They have only “restarted” ahead of Uhuru’s visit to Kisumu!

The MP who was removed from a key Legal and Justice committee in parliament for ‘differing with Raila” said he hoped the president would revive “stalled projects in the region.” Many political watchers say that this open defiance against the party leader was previously unheard of as party policy and agenda was the preserve of party supremo Raila Odinga!

Jakoyo Midiwo, Odinga’s cousin boldly told Orengo off to his face, pointing to the wind of change blowing in the region that has stood with the Odingas in every presidential election in the last 4 decades. Orengo accused Midiwo of still suffering from the one-party KANU hang-over “loyalty” cult syndrome that has been overtaken by time!

The apparent direct challenge to Odinga to stop blind support of his once bitter foe President Uhuru, and question the economic benefits to the region since the March 2018 handshake, is likely to rattle many at the state fete.

Speaking without mincing words, Otiende questioned why the ongoing work at Kisumu port, Nakuru-Kisumu-Butere-Busia railway and Muhoroni-Mamboleo were “sluggish and had “badly stalled.” They have only “restarted” ahead of Uhuru’s visit to Kisumu! Traditionally, it would be Odinga to point out such key issues as the host. This apparent open defiance by his close aide’s points at the growing dwindling clout in the region previously enjoyed by Raila.

That Orengo could boldly tell off Midiwo, Odinga’s cousin to his face points to the wind of change blowing in the region that has stood with the Odingas in every presidential election in the last 4 decades. Orengo accused Midiwo of still suffering from the one-party KANU hang-over “loyalty” cult syndrome that has been overtaken by time! Orengo said all he was doing was advising the party on how to move forward and address teething challenges.

At the same time, Otiende is challenging President Uhuru to revive collapsed cotton, sugar and fishing industries.  Otiende is also asking the president to allocate more resources to contain the growing Covid-19 infections that have topped the country in the last week.

Otiende has further faulted the demolition of houses and businesses on land planned for railway expansion that has rendered thousands of people jobless. This many say is likely to ruffle feathers in the president’s camp as the SGR extension is part of Uhuru’s key economic legacy.

The Madaraka Day celebrations will be held at Jomo Kenyatta Sports Complex with only 3,000 people allowed into the stadium. Interior PS Karanja Kibicho said another 20,000 people would follow proceedings on big TV screens from elsewhere.

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