, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 1 – The Orange Democratic Movement’s (ODM) top organ failed on Tuesday to conclusively address the widening rift among its ranks over the Mau complex evictions, and instead said it would constitute a seven-member committee to advise the party on the issue.
27 members of ODM’s National Executive Council (NEC) congregated at Orange House amid increasing public disagreements between Party Leader Raila Odinga and his second Deputy William Ruto over the handling of settler evictions from Kenya’s foremost water tower.
Party Secretary General Anyang Nyong’o emerged from the three-hour meeting and said the proposed committee was to be mandated to present ODM’s position before the recently-constituted Secretariat for Implementing the Mau Taskforce Report.
“The manner in which you do it is very important and the issues are very intricate,” said Prof Nyong’o.
“We know there are genuine settlers, natural inhabitants of the Mau (and) people who went there for speculation purposes.”
The party NEC also insisted that those to be evicted must first be compensated.
“Please don’t ignore these important parameters but the details should be worked out with the Secretariat,” said Prof Nyong’o.
After the NEC meeting, ODM’s Parliamentary Group sat during which Mr Odinga is said to have been criticised over his handling of the matter with most North Rift MPs accusing him of shifting positions.
Kipkelion MP Langat Magerer who has been among the fierce critics of the government’s handling of the matter said he was confident the issue will now be resolved amicably.
Prof Nyong’o maintained that the committee would not affect the government’s pace in implementing the report.
However the rift between Mr Odinga and Mr Ruto remained evident as they left within five minutes of each other, ignoring questions from the media.
But, when asked if the meeting had succeeded to cement the rift, Prof Nyong’o downplayed the matter.
“The two have an excellent working relationship; the party encourages internal democracy but a difference in opinion should not be interpreted to mean there is a fallout within the party leadership.”
More than 60 MPs attended the meeting that failed to discuss the party’s stand on the Imanyara Bill which seeks to establish a Special Tribunal to handle perpetrators of last year’s post election violence.