, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 16 – Allies of Prime Minister Raila Odinga in the Orange Democratic Movement are mulling ways of taming his deputy Musalia Mudavadi who has in the recent weeks emerged as a strong contender for the presidency.
The leaders met for three hours on Wednesday night at the Nairobi Safari Club at a sitting said to have been organised by Westlands MP Fred Gumo.
“Its Raila who instructed Gumo to hold the meeting of the Rapid Response Team in ODM,” said a source privy to events at the meeting.
Those in attendance at the talks were Fred Gumo (convenor), Cabinet ministers William ole Ntimama, Dalmas Otieno, Paul Otuoma, Chris Obure, James Orengo, Joe Nyaga, Franklin Bett and Musa Sirma.
Assistant Ministers Ramadhan Kajembe, Margaret Wanjiru, Sospeter Ojaamong, Mohammed Mahmoud, Simeon Lesrima, MP’s Alfred Sambu, Yusuf Chanzu, Hassan Joho and Deputy speaker Farah Maalim were also present.
It was suggested that separate campaigns being held by Odinga and Mudavadi were hurting the party, and that the Deputy Prime Minister must be asked to back down.
Gumo was tasked to find a way to bring the two together to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) so that Mudavadi backs Odinga as his running mate.
The team will meet on a weekly basis and will later invite the two to brief them on what they think is best for the party.
Bett who is the Roads Minister however denied that the meeting was aimed at strategising on how to tame the party deputy.
“Yes the meeting happened but taming anybody was not part of the agenda; we simply met to discuss a number of matters,” said Bett.
Bett told Capital News that the meeting was called to discuss matters of interest to the party including how to utilise the competition between Odinga and Mudavadi to its advantage.
He said that the party was keen to address the loopholes its competitors could use including using the competition between the PM and his deputy to divide the party.
The Bureti MP said that the contest between Odinga and Mudavadi was healthy but the party had to be aware of machinations by ‘outside forces’.
Mudavadi’s private secretary Kibisu Kabatesi told Capital News that it was not the role of a few members of the party to nominate the party’s presidential candidate.
Mudavadi has already hit the ground in search of votes for the forthcoming ODM presidential party nominations, where he is expected to square it out with Odinga.
The ODM deputy leader has insisted his candidature was a clear manifestation of internal democracy at play within the party and one that will strengthen ODM.
In his campaigns, Mudavadi has made it clear that he is working for himself and not ‘outside forces’ in his bid to be elected the Orange Democratic Movement’s presidential flag bearer.
Last Friday, Odinga who campaigned in Western Province said that he had no personal differences with his deputy despite the ongoing battle for the ODM party presidential ticket.
The ODM deputy leader has differed with his party boss over the mode of picking the party’s presidential flag bearer is opting for elections by delegates at county levels while those backing Odinga are in support of the National Delegates Congress (NDC).
“We must demonstrate to others that we are the most democratic party in the country and any ideological differences should be treated as such, not be taken as enmity among party officials,” he added.