NAIROBI, October 28 – A section of Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) legislators went ahead with a party meeting on Tuesday, defying a call by the Party Chief Whip postponing it.
Just under 30 Members of Parliament (MPs) converged for a Parliamentary Group (PG) meeting, which had been scheduled to iron out stark differences within the party over the recommendations of the Waki report.
The MPs sat for about two hours, closed door, before resolving that a second PG meeting be held on Thursday where the issue would be thrashed out.
The Party’s PG Secretary Ababu Namwamba said: “In my capacity as Secretary I am convening a full ODM meeting to debate and take an official position on critical issues of national importance, including the Waki and Kriegler reports.”
Chief Whip Jakoyo Midiwo had on Monday communicated to legislators from the United States, where he is observing the upcoming elections, that Tuesday’s meeting had been cancelled at the request of the Party leader, Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
Mr Odinga was expected to face off with Rift Valley MPs who are unhappy with his stand on the Waki findings. The PM has said investigations by the Waki Commission have shown that certain politicians had planned and financed attackers during the poll violence and they must face the law.
ODM Cabinet Ministers William Ruto and William ole Ntimama have however disagreed with him, trashing the Waki findings and branding the report as one filled with "rumours and hearsay".
Legislators who attended Tuesday’s meeting further said that statements made by various party leaders on the Waki report should not be taken as the official party position.
Namwamba said ODM MPs were yet to jointly and conclusively discuss the report on poll aggressions, and so all comments made should be viewed as personal opinions.
“If any member wishes to express an opinion on any issue let them make it absolutely clear that what they are expressing is an individual opinion. We are a democratic party and we should follow the procedure for decision making in the party.”
Some of the MPs who attended the meeting are Alfred Sambu, Fred Kapondi, Hassan Joho, David Koech, Joshua Kutuny and Zakayo Cheruiyot, among others.