The internal wrangles that have rocked the ODM party since the aborted party elections in February this year, are scaling to new heights as the members appear more divided.
News making rounds yesterday was that activist Wafula Buke, had replaced the embattled ODM Executive Director Magerer Langat, who was roughed up and violently ejected from a party meeting at Orange House last week.
Mr Buke, allegedly self-declared himself as the new party boss yesterday at orange house, after a meeting which was attended by some party secretariat officials. Buke, who is ODM’s Director of Strategy, is reported to have convened an impromptu meeting together with Rosemary Kariuki (Membership Director) among others, where the agenda to find a replacement for Magerer was tabled. Shortly afterwards a press conference was organised and Buke declared himself as the new chief, an action that has infuriated top party officials.
“We cannot allow a vacuum to be there in ODM,” Mr Buke said, adding that he had been installed as the acting executive director by the party chiefs.
Party leader Raila Odinga has come out strongly to condemn Buke’s action saying that neither he nor the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) was aware of the matter, since an investigation into the Magerer’s incident and the claims lleveled against him is still underway.
Raila is allegedly so furious by the latest crisis in his party that he is planning to disband The Orange House Secretariat, which seems to be undermining his authority.
ODM, Secretary General, Prof Anyang Nyong’o, has maintained that Magerer is still the Executive Director of ODM and warned that Buke and his accomplices will be dealt with accordingly.
“Mr Magerer Lang’at is the executive director of ODM, who is currently scheduled to appear before the party’s disciplinary committee as constituted by the NEC yesterday. Any public announcement by unauthorised person to the contrary will attract appropriate disciplinary action. Buke’s public announcement today has no bearing on decisions made by the party and he will be dealt with accordingly, “Nyong’o said in a statement.
Even prior to the disrupted party elections early this year, ODM has been a divided house with two factions pulling in separate directions.
In August this year, The Star newspaper ran a story under the headline ODM FACES CASH CRISIS AS MPs FAIL TO CONTRIBUTE, revealing how non-payment of the membership fees even from Raila’s close allies was paralysing operations at Orange House and creating an uproar within the party.
It was reported that after the swearing in of the 110 Members of Parliament and senators following the March 2013 elections, ODM should have harnessed Sh26.4 million. The party only managed to collect Sh16 million by then. )
ODM’s constitution mandates for a Sh240, 000 annual or Sh20, 000 monthly membership contributions from every member.
Before Magerer’s saga played out, reports indicated that there were divisions in the party on how the Sh87.4 million from the Political Parties Fund should be spend, with a section advocating for the cash to be used in strengthening the party by recruiting more members while the other wanted the funds to be channeled to the Okoa Kenya referendum campaigns. The former group is also said to be demanding for a new breed of young leaders in the party.
Well, ODM is one of the key political parties in CORD, which form the opposition government and the party should get its house in order soon before it loses face in the eyes of Kenyans.