NAIROBI, Kenya, May 9 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s ally Fred Gumo has been appointed the acting Local Government Minister to replace Musalia Mudavadi who resigned last week.
The Westlands MP is also the substantive minister in the Ministry of Regional Development.
“After consultations with Prime Minister Raila Odinga, His Excellency President Mwai Kibaki has today appointed Hon Fred Gumo as the acting Minister for Local Government,” a brief statement from State House said.
Gumo has been steadfast in his support for Odinga even after the departure of Mudavadi who decamped to the United Democratic Forum (UDF) party.
Mudavadi exited following the failure of his ODM party to amend the party Constitution before applying for registration. He had wanted the party to amend a provision that gives the party leader an automatic ticket to seek the presidency.
Last month Gumo led MPs from Western Kenya in prevailing upon Mudavadi to compete within ODM urging him “not to be a coward.”
“In politics we need strong leaders not weaklings. You have to fight, you have to be strong not complaining daily about democracy,” he told journalists at Parliament Buildings at the time.
In February, the no-nonsense minister was also selected by Odinga to head the Rapid Response Team whose aim was to tame Mudavadi who had emerged as a strong contender for the presidency under ODM.
In Odinga’s camp, the Westlands MP is seen as the man who will marshal voters from Western province and Nairobi.
Mudavadi last week quit as ODM Deputy Leader and Minister for Local Government but held onto the post of Deputy Prime Minister and Sabatia MP.
When he quit, he indicated that the party was becoming undemocratic following the failure to amend the clause that guarantees the party leader automatic nomination for a presidential ticket.
He insisted that he read a systematic plot by the party not to amend the constitution after the legal committee failed to meet and deliberate on the amendments and the fact that the party wanted to tie amendments to the stringent Political Parties Act.
“I have said and repeat that internal democracy in political parties is as important as the practice of democratic governance is in government. You know what to expect of your government if your party of choice is ready and willing to practice internal democracy,” he said at the time.
He insisted that he left ODM because he did not want to be time barred to compete within the party or leave the party outside of the timelines provided for in the Elections Act.
Mudavadi has been under pressure from Odinga and legislators allied to the PM to relinquish the positions of Deputy Prime Minister and that of Sabatia MP.