Why Oka chiefs skipped Raila Odinga’s big day

The fear of being seen as having endorsed ODM leader Raila Odinga for the presidency and the bitter falling-out in Nasa were some of the reasons that made OKA leaders skip the Azimio la Umoja convention in Nairobi yesterday.

Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi, Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula of Ford Kenya are said to have missed the event held at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, over fears that their presence would create a perception that they had thrown their weight behind Mr Odinga at the expense of their own bids.

The three are also said to have been angered by what some of their handlers termed Mr Odinga’s secret role in the wrangles that had marred their individual parties, leading to internal rebellion like the failed attempt to ouster Mr Wetang’ula as Ford-Kenya party leader.

Others cited the bitter falling-out in the Nasa coalition, where Mr Odinga is said to have failed to honour a pre-election agreement that would see him support one of the principals for election in 2022, as well as failure by ODM to equally share cash released from the Political Parties’ Fund.

It is on this basis that Mr Mudavadi, Mr Musyoka and Mr Wetang’ula resolved to skip Raila’s event, with each giving personal reasons, sources close to the three leaders told Nation.

“The feeling among our leaders was that there were still a number of unresolved issues, which had been swept under the carpet. The consensus also was that attending the convention would be tantamount to endorsing Jakom,” one of the sources said.

The OKA leaders are said to have met and made a decision that each would issue out statements stating their reasons for skipping.

Past political dealings

At the meeting, Mr Wetang’ula is said to have taken issue with what he felt was Mr Odinga’s secret hand in his attempted ouster from Ford-Kenya by a section of party members led by Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi and his Tongaren counterpart Eseli Simiyu.

ODM had also previously plotted the removal of Mr Wetang’ula as the Minority leader in the Senate, a move that saw wrangles within Nasa intensify.

Mr Mudavadi, on the other hand, is said to have been angered by a decision by Mr Odinga to sideline his former allies in past political dealings, like negotiations for the handshake, the alliance with Jubilee, and even his failure to honour Nasa agreements.

Only Mr Musyoka is said to have been receptive to the idea of attending the Azimio convention as a sign of goodwill to the ODM party leader but was reined in by the others.

Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala, a close ally of Mr Mudavadi, yesterday told Newszetu the decision not to attend the event was intentional. He accused Mr Odinga of betrayal and selfishness, saying the ODM leader’s past sins had not been forgiven by his former Nasa allies.

“Raila is our opponent and you cannot attend the wedding of an opponent. Today (yesterday) is his day in the sun. However, he will soon realise that his Nasa bloc is no longer with him.

“He is engaging in an exercise in futility at Kasarani and he will soon realise that he no longer has votes of the Luhya and the Kamba people,” Mr Malala said.

Broken marriage

The senator also accused the ODM leader of blackmail, saying his recent decision to attend the National Delegates Conferences hosted by Mr Kalonzo and Kanu chairman Gideon Moi was to pressure the two to support his presidential bid.

“It was his personal preference to attend the NDC. But we know he had a hidden agenda. His intentions were to blackmail our leaders to support him. It was also a way to lure others to Nasa. But that is already a broken marriage,” Mr Malala said.

Of the four OKA principals, comprising Mr Mudavadi, Mr Musyoka, Mr Wetang’ula and Mr Moi, only the Kanu chief attended the Kasarani event, saying his decision was informed by the respect he had for Mr Odinga.

“I was not to be here because I am bereaved. But because of the respect Raila Odinga accorded me and Kanu by attending our National Delegates Conference, I decided to come and attend this event,” said Mr Moi.

“We are allied forces. Baba’s gain and gaining ground is our gain. When we gain ground on our side, it is Baba’s gain. The forces are one. We are allied,” he added.

Both Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang’ula had on Thursday said they would not attend the convention, despite receiving invites from Mr Odinga.

Mr Musyoka, on the other hand, is said to have flown to South Sudan on Thursday where he held talks and meetings with leaders in Juba on the ongoing peace process in the country.

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