Mudavadi finally ditches ODM as presidential race hots up

KAKAMEGA, Kenya, Apr 21 – Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi has finally ditched the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), declaring that his name must be on the presidential ballot in the forthcoming general elections.

The Sabatia MP, who is also the ODM’s Deputy Party Leader recently fell out with the party bigwigs after they submitted the constitution to the Registrar of Political Parties creating uncertainty and apprehension among members.

He told a leaders meeting at the Masinde Muliro University in Kakamega County that he had decided to leave the party that is led by Prime Minister Raila Odinga who also intends to capture the top seat in the polls.

“When you leave here, I want you to be sure that I will not go back to ODM, this time, there is no reverse gear” he promised.

Mudavadi has been unhappy that ODM presented compliance documents to the Registrar of Political Parties without first amending the clause that says the party leader will be the automatic presidential flag bearer.

The DPM and his faction wanted the rules amended by the National Governing Council and the National Delegates Conference, while Odinga’s allies argued that the party needed to first apply for registration to beat the April 30 deadline.

The DPM recalled his political journey in ODM and told the Kakamega gathering that time was not on his side to wait for the amendment of the party’s constitution.

“Obama would not have been the US president if his party would have had a constitution that says the party leader is the presidential candidate,” he said.

Mudavadi who chaired the much-publicised leaders’ meeting however fell short of naming his new party.

“Making the final decision is very important and all factors must be put into consideration,” he said.

Leaders, who included councilors, members of the clergy, trade unionists, elders, youths and women leaders, expected Mudavadi to use the occasion to issue his “comprehensive statement.”

While countering pressure to state his next move, Mudavadi said a child should be allowed to be born after nine months.

“A pregnancy should be allowed to take full term,” he added.

Participants were drawn from the four counties of Western Province, Trans Nzoia County, Rift Valley and Nairobi.

The DPM on his part asked for more time to conduct further consultation before making the much awaited announcement.

“I was sent home once because I made a move before consulting widely. It was a big lesson for me” he explained.

He promised to make known his decision after completing consultations with supporters countrywide.

Speaker after speaker at the meeting demanded that Mudavadi announces that he has quit ODM and name his new political outfit.

He noted that he has five more counties to tour- Wajir, Marsabit, Turkana, Mandera and Nairobi.

“I want us to move together. I should never walk alone,” he told the leaders from Western.

He said Kenyans have a right to elect a person they deem fit to lead them.

“I hold no grudge with anyone in ODM. You don’t have to be a party leader to vie for presidency. If one door is closed, you must open the other door and get out,” he added.

The DPM was backed by Housing Minister Soita Shitanda, assistant ministers George Khaniri (Information) and Manyala Keya (Gender), MPs Bonny Khalwale, Justus Kizito and David Were and Yusuf chanzu.

Others were formers MPs Raphael Wanjala, Mukhisa Kituyi and Mark Too and Nairobi Town Clerk Philip Kisia.

Shitanda, Khalwale and Wanjala asked Mudavadi to approach Justice minister Eugene Wamalwa his Trade counterpart Moses Wetangula and assistant minister Bifwoli Wakoli and Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo and seek their support.

The four have announced that they will also be in the race to State House.

Khaniri said the door has been closed for them in ODM as they will never get a chance to participate in nominations.

“Some people in ODM have been putting road blocks every time we made progress. The DPM has no chance of winning presidential nominations in ODM,” he added

BERNARD MOMANYI

BERNARD MOMANYI

Bernard is the News Editor at Capital FM. He commands over a decade of experience in news gathering having worked in both print and electronic media. He holds a BSc degree in Information Sciences from Moi University and is currently undertaking a Master of Arts degree in Communication Studies at the University of Nairobi.