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The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has come out to refute claims by Budalangi MP Ababu Namwamba and other MPs from Western Kenya that they are being sidelined by their counterparts from the Nyanza region.
ODM Chairman John Mbadi refuted the claims made by the MPs on Tuesday, June 21, saying that there is no cause for alarm in the party and that it was the first time he was hearing the allegations.
Mbadi said that the party has not sidelined anyone as claimed by Namwamba’s camp, and dismissed the claims that some members want the Budalangi MP out as the party’s secretary general.
Ababu Namwamba at State House with President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto. Photo: PSCU
“I think we are trying to create a mountain out of an ant-hill. There are no differences that we have. Not that I am aware of,” Mbadi said Wednesday, June 22.
He further indicated that the party holds central committee meetings monthly and the secretary general is always present but has never raised the issue.
Mbadi said that as a chairman he talks everyday with Namwamba and wonders where the claims are coming from.
“We talk every day. We hold central committee meetings every month. And these concerns that were expressed yesterday I have never heard them,” Mbadi added.
This comes a day after Namwamba called a press conference together with a number of leaders from Western Kenya and blasted a section of the party leadership for neglecting and disrespecting him as the party secretary general.
The leaders issued a statement detailing a number of instances where they have allegedly been sidelined by their counterparts whom they said feel entitled to the ownership of the party.
Ababu Namwamba is the ODM secretary General. He is with Raila Odinga in a party function.
“As ODM leaders from Western Kenya, we reject the persistent habit in our party to treat us as second rate members. Certain forces within ODM have formed this habit of bullying, intimidating and wrongly profiling us for no good reason,” the statement read in part.
The MPs accused the party leader (Raila Odinga) as well as Mbadi of conducting activities in Western Kenya region without involving them.
“Only last weekend the party leader was in Kakamega and Vihiga without notifying area MPs Wilbur Ottichilo and Chris Omulele. Last month the chairman was in Khwisero purportedly unveiling the party branch leadership without the area MP Andola. We do not take this disrespect kindly,” they said further.
However, the leaders dismissed reports that they were headed out of the party and said they are the founders and are not ready to quit as some members want.