NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 27 – Two South Nyanza MPs have differed on the region’s support for Nominated Senator Agnes Zani for the position of Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Party Secretary General during the National Delegates Convention slated for February 28 to March 1.
Speaking at a burial in Homabay County, Ndhiwa Legislator Augustino Neto said Zani is a novice and should not be entrusted with the management of the party.
“In my opinion, I don’t think Dr Zani has been tried and tested in terms of politics. She is a nominated Senator, let he come back as an elected Senator or National Assembly Member and then maybe I can trust her with the heart and soul of the political party; that is the Secretary General’s seat,” Neto stated.
The MP further says the position is not a preserve of the Luo community but wished someone from the region takes it owing to past incidences.
“We still remember what (the Late) Martin Shikuku did when he was the Ford Secretary-General and as the heartbeat of the party we have a feeling that this position should be retained by Nyanza,” he said.
“Our people have not even forgotten how Daniel Maanzo seized (the defunct) ODM-K certificate and ran away with it in the middle of an election season.”
This comes after a rally by a section of Luo Nyanza MPs where they accused the former Premier and ODM Leader Raila Odinga of being unreasonable in his plot to have the region back the Nominated Senator and warned that Nyanza leaders would be intolerant to any attempt to cajole them out of powerful positions.
Speaking earlier at the same burial, Zani insisted she is ready and has the required qualifications to lead the party as Secretary General.
The Nominated Senator from Kwale County stated the party should be rejuvenated and promised to inject fresh ideas a head of the general elections in 2017.
Zani said she was ready to battle for the position and had already begun wooing delegates to support her bid.
“I am busy campaigning for the seat which I do not expect to be given on a silver platter. Why are they calling me a project? Don’t I have the qualifications? “She posed.
Budalangi MP Ababu Namwamba, Kisumu Central MP Ken Obura, Nominated Senator Elizabeth Ongoro, Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo and Suba MP John Mbadi are interested in the position.
Odinga has in the past declared he would not intervene in the party elections and had no secret list of favoured candidates.
Meanwhile, Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi who is allied to the Party Leader’s faction which is said to be sponsoring Zani dismissed the campaign trick as unfortunate and the MPs of deceit and trying to ethnicise the party.
“The so-called youthful Luo ODM MPs have now become a disgrace and liability to the party…hell-bent on destroying the party from within through comments that can only succeed in portraying ODM as a regional party,” he said.
Opiyo said he cannot rule out external influence in the recent pronouncement which he claims are aimed at trying to stir confusion and disharmony in the party through these MPs.
“Otherwise, how else can one explain a situation where we sit down as leaders, endless times, and agree on issues, only for these same MPs to go public soon thereafter with totally contradictory messages,” said the Ugunja MP who is also gunning for the Deputy Secretary General seat.
He called on the party members to scrutinise those who have offered their candidature saying they must be evaluated on the basis of their ideological orientation.
“We must now put a stop to these shenanigans in order to save the party from disintegration. We must do so by taking the battle to these MPs’ doorsteps; in their respective constituencies. We know that most of them are standing on shaky ground politically, hence the obsession with securing nomination certificates in advance for 2017,” he said.