NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 22 – Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama has said the Coalition for Reform and Democracy risks being irrelevant unless its leaders Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka get seats in the Senate or National Assembly.
Muthama argued that for the coalition to provide strong opposition in the House, the leadership of former PM Odinga and ex-VP Musyoka is crucial.
Muthama said the two had displayed exemplary leadership and deserved to be given a chance to continue leading either in the Senate or the National Assembly.
He added that the two leaders risk being thrown into political oblivion if they don’t get into Parliament following their defeat by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto in the March 4 polls.
“From the experience I have, if you are not in an elective position in Kenyan politics it is extremely difficult to be recognised locally and internationally,” he said.
Muthama urged the two leaders to urgently make a decision of joining any of the two legislative chambers, maintaining that there were many Members of Parliament and Senators ready to resign for them.
Legislators willing to give up their seats, he said, include those from Nairobi, Coast, Nyanza and Easter Province.
The strategy has been to have lawmakers from CORD strongholds resign for Odinga and Musyoka who would then be nominated to contest in subsequent by-elections, which it is presumed they will easily win.
Reports last week suggested that Wiper party lawmakers were not willing to quit their seats for Musyoka.
Addressing a press conference on Monday, Muthama maintained that he was ready to quit even today, if any of the two leaders decided to join the Senate.
“I have even prepared my letter of resignation if I will be required to do so as Senator of Machakos. Kalonzo’s position today is just telling us… wait I will tell you where (I want to end up),” he said.
Kisumu East MP Shakeel Shabbir on his part said he was opposed to any attempts to mount pressure on the former Prime Minister to get back to Parliament.
Shabbir advised Odinga to stay away from the National Assembly because he was above the position, having risen through the ranks to become Kenya’s Prime Minister, besides vying for the presidency.
“Is it what he wants? He has already said give him time to consult so let’s give him that. But for sure they is no shortage of legislators willing to give up their seats for him,” Shabbir said.
There has been mounting pressure on the CORD leader to consider getting back to Parliament through a by-election.
At the weekend, Nyanza religious leaders held a meeting in Kisumu where they told Odinga to make the decision as soon as possible because he will not be useful outside Parliament.
In case Odinga maintains his stance, Musyoka will assume the position of Leader of Minority Party in the National Assembly once back in Parliament.