NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 16 – Cabinet Minister Najib Balala is blaming Prime Minister Raila Odinga for the split in orange Democratic Movement (ODM) saying he betrayed his coalition partners after the 2007 general elections.
Speaking to Capital News on Saturday, he said that disloyalty breeds mistrust which in turn cannot sustain a coalition.
He is calling on all political leaders keen on coming together during next year’s general elections to concentrate more on what is better for their country as opposed to their individual interests.
“Raila Odinga got sympathy because of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was betrayed against him and now he has also betrayed his friends who were members of the Pentagon and that is why people are against him now,” he said.
“Things are changing and the minute you play the game of betrayal, the country will betray you too. Let us have leadership that is honest. We are never going to be perfect as individuals or as a society,” he stated.
He further emphasised the need for members of a coalition building each other up instead of airing their differences in public.
“If we can support each other, nurture each other and address each others shortcomings rather than tear each other in public then we will succeed,” he stated. “We need to accommodate each other, we need to really believe in what we promised the people rather than using our positions to earn wealth or other things for ourselves.”
He pointed out that need for everybody’s views and opinions to be considered within a coalition.
“Everybody has his own vehicle, everybody has his own values. You bring a value on the table and all those values need to be consolidated so that you have a very strong base of consolidated value,” he said.
“When we appreciate each others value, then we can form a big umbrella entity that will take us forward not as a community but as a nation.”
He stated that honesty plays an important role in any partnership and thus should be paramount in any coalition’s agenda.
“People are hoping it will be the right one this time round. Previously it was a betrayal in NARC, then ODM where there was betrayal and now we hope things will change,” he said. “I am going to be in the fore front to demand for honesty because I am not going to be with a group of people who are dishonest.”
The erstwhile staunch ally of Prime Minister Raila Odinga has joined another ODM Pentagon member William Ruto in dining with former Party of National Unity rivals.
From his perch in the Pentagon once the revered top decision-making organ Mr Balala has gradually slipped away from the centre of power at the Orange party and is lately a serial absentee at party functions.
Mr Balala however maintains that he is still in ODM, a party he says he helped found and the position regarding his membership has not changed.
His main contention with the ODM top brass is because of what he views as a personality culture pervading the party, denying it the institutional mien he would have wanted to see.
And it is on this that Mr Balala blames the collapse of the Pentagon – the party’s top decision making organ that brought together himself, Mr Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi, Mr Ruto, Charity Ngilu and Joseph Nyagah.