STATEMENT BY ODM PROFESSIONALS:
In late 2014, the Orange Democratic Movement responded to the cries of its followers for a new, youthful and vibrant leadership to guide and energize the party ahead of 2017 elections.
One by one, senior party stalwarts paved way. The Hon. Prof Anyang Nyongo, until then a reliable, steadfast and steady hand in the party opted to leave the post of Secretary General and rally behind a younger youthful Hon Ababu Namwamba for the position.
Hon. Henry Kosgey left the chairmanship and the party rallied behind an equally youthful Hon John Mbadi for the post.
The party settled on young and vibrant Hon. Ali Hassan Joho, Josephat Nanok, Junet Mohamed, Abdikadir Aden and Hon Timothy Bosire for various key party positions.
The former Western province was lucky to get the position of Deputy Party Leader in the name of Wycliffe Oparanya, Paul Otuoma as vice chairman, Deputy Organising Secretary in Hon Florence Mutua and, above all, Hon Namwamba as Secretary General.
When the need arose for a dispute resolution panel following grassroots elections in ODM, the party settled on Mr. Edwin Sifuna as Chairman of the National Appeals Tribunal. The party equally pushed for Mr. Norman Magaya to head the CORD secretariat in addition to retaining Mr. Philip Etale as Director of Communications in ODM.
Party Leader Hon Raila Odinga organized retreats for this team to bond. At the burial of the late Hon Otieno Kajwang, the Party Leader again paraded this team with pride, showing it off as the dream team to deliver to the millions of the party’s supporters. By and large, this team has performed.
Governors Joho, Oparanya and Nanok have kept the ODM flag flying high in Mombasa, Kakamega and Turkana counties respectively. These ODM leaders have kept the actual and ideological lines drawn between Jubilee and CORD.
At any one time, no ODM supporter doubts where Gov. Joho, Oparanya, Nanok, Hon Mbadi, Hon Bosire and Hon Junet Mohammed stand on critical issues of the day. That has not been the case with the SG Hon Ababu Namwamba.
Ababu has failed to create a team out of the people he was given to work with and preferred to walk and work alone. He has failed to draw a clear line between himself and Jubilee Party and its leaders. Our SG has constantly flirted with the governing coalition to the confusion of our supporters.
At critical moments, Ababu has failed to rally the party and has invented one excuse after another for failing to participate in party activities. He failed to participate in the pro-referendum drives and has currently stayed off anti- IEBC drives. Reforming the IEBC and our electoral infrastructure is critical to ODM if we are to ascend to leadership as a party. Yet Hon Ababu, because of his flirtation with Jubilee, does not see the need to push for reform of the IEBC.
It has been a big shame to see James Orengo, Anyang Nyongo, Raila Odinga, Florence Mutua, Hassan Joho, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetangula being teargased in the streets pushing electoral reform while the self styled General is AWOL.
We were therefore shocked to see Hon Ababu try to drag the entire Luhya community into his personal failings as a leader and accusing fellow leaders of undermining his leadership.
Hon Ababu needs to be told in clear terms that one cannot undermine a leadership that does not exist. Ababu is an absentee leader in ODM. His heart is not in it. It is time for him to leave.
Secondly, as leaders, we feel that as a community, we are well represented and respected in ODM. His desperate attempt to curve a narrative of Luhyia Persecution in ODM must be seen for the self serving egoistic misdirection that it is. He must carry his problems alone.
Luhyia men do not hide behind generalities and euphemisms like “party leadership” or “Western MPs”. From childhood, we are taught to single out the source of our frustrations in any situation and deal with that source Mundu Khu Mundu. Ababu as SG has authority to convene a meeting and discuss whatever difficulties he is encountering and prescribe a cure. Crying wolf is not a Luhya tradition.
Finally, we want to remind Hon Ababu that he is not the only Kenyan facing frustrations in life. We wake up every day to confront a web of inequity, tribalism and corruption spurn by the Jubilee regime in a scheme to perpetually keep us in poverty. This situation is not ideal for any one of us but we do not cry for trophies or recognition for being merely tolerated in our own country.
The business of saving this country is therefore so germane that any person who becomes a stumbling block to the nations salvation must of necessity be left behind. If Ababu is so frustrated to the point of paralysis he should know there is no shortage of talented Luhyas who can take the seat of SG that the party has reserved for us. There are many, including myself, ready and willing to serve this great party in the position of Secretary General.
Edwin Sifuna, Advocate
For ODM PROFESSIONALS