NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 24 – Supporters of Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Taita Taveta gubernatorial aspirant Thomas Mwadeghu were on Monday engaged in a confrontation with party officials claiming they were frustrating the candidature of their leader.
The supporters exchanged words with ODM Legal Officer and Party Dispute Tribunal member Tony Moturi and Director of Communications Phillip Etale after they had addressed a news conference at Orange House.
Led by branch Chairmen from the county, the supporters accused Etale and Moturi of being part of a cartel “sabotaging Party Leader Raila Odinga’s interests.”
“Why are you lying to us, when did you sit to hear the petition by our leader? You are the people who are destroying our ODM and Baba’s support base at the grassroots. Tell us when you will be hearing our petition. If you have taken someone’s money, you can as well give it back, we demand justice instead of taking us in circles,” charged a male supporter who severally evaded Mwadeghu who tried to restrain him.
Mwadeghu, who is the Opposition Chief Whip in the National Assembly accused the Party Dispute Resolution Tribunal of sitting on his petition.
ODM Wundanyi official Brendan Mwashinga warned that the Orange party risks an exodus of party supporters if Mwadeghu is not declared the winner.
“Baba, we hold you in high respect but given the level we are at currently, we feel like the party is taking us for granted. We don’t want a weak candidate who will easily be defeated by Jubilee to be imposed on us, ours is an ODM stronghold and Baba, if you want a political lesson try the people of Taita, we just want to be given the nomination certificates for all elective seats from Governor to the Ward representative,” he said.
Mwadeghu told reporters that he would run as an independent should ODM fail to declare him the winner of last week’s nomination exercise and issue him with a certificate declaring him the party’s flag-bearer in the governor’s race.
The Wundanyi legislator said he defeated incumbent Governor John Mruttu and said he would not take part in a repeat poll as ordered by the party tribunal.
“I have beaten Mruttu hands down and the issue is how has an MP beaten a sitting governor; because he did not perform. The people of Taita Taveta did not reject Mruttu because he came from Taveta, they are rejecting Mruttu because he is a non-performer period.” he asserted.
He claims the Tribunal arrived at the decision without according him as the petitioner the platform to be heard.
“Mruttu should be disqualified for electoral malpractices which include beating up people, holding people hostage and creating his polling stations and you want us to take it lying down because he is a governor? No way not Mwadeghu, T-O-M, Tom Mwadeghu, forget it. Let him go it alone and since I am backed by the entire county ODM Board I will not shiver,” Mwadeghu stated.