ODM Senators yesterday foiled an attempt to kick out Siaya Senator James Orengo and his Makueni counterpart Mutula Kilonzo Junior as Senate Minority Leader and Whip respectively.
Leader of Minority in the National Assembly John Mbadi and the Minority Whip Junet Mbadi had reportedly asked Deputy Minority Leader Kilifi’s Stewart Madzayo to convene a Senators Parliamentary Group meeting to discuss the conduct of the two.
However, Madzayo who has been in office for barely a month after he replaced Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malalah, declined the request. Nominated Senator Beatrice Kwamboka reportedly declined the advances, too.
Sources told People Daily yesterday that ODM leader Raila Odinga was unhappy with Orengo’s stand on the BBI Bill.
“It is true that the PM is not happy with the conduct of Orengo, Mutula, (Bungoma Senator Moses) Wetang’ula, and Otiende Amollo (Rarieda MP) but Mbadi, Junet and group are overreacting on a matter that should be addressed amicably,” said a source who sought anonymity.
“How can they purport to attempt to micromanage senators? Orengo is a mugumo tree that cannot be uprooted anytime,” the source added.
But last evening, Raila’s spokesman Dennis Onyango said the party had no plans to replace Orengo. In a statement, Onyango said that following the removal of Amollo on Tuesday from the National Assembly’s Justice and Legal Affairs Committee, there had been speculation the party was about to change its leadership in the Senate.
“We wish to clarify that Raila Odinga and the Orange Democratic Movement have no plans to replace Senator James Orengo as the Leader of Minority in the Senate,” said Onyango.
Amollo was kicked out of the Justice Committee for allegedly working at cross purposes with the party leadership on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
Raila’s party has directed its MPs and senators to pass the BBI Bill in its current form when its is put to the vote this afternoon.
Amollo, Orengo and Mutula are, however, pushing for amendments.
The joint report of the Justice committees recommended that MPs correct anomalies in the Bill before passing it.
People Daily has established that Senators affiliated to the moribund National Super Alliance (Nasa) were to be invited to a Parliamentary Group meeting at 9.00am today.
A total of 28 senators were expected to attend the meeting where Migori Senator Ochillo Ayacko was to replace Orengo.
Senator Ayacko, who is in Kisii County chairing the sessions of Senate committee on County Public and Investments Committee, is also said to have declined the position.
“Mbadi and Junet are the real enemies within ODM. They should be axed as fast possible if we are to save the party from disintegrating further,” a ranking member of ODM told People Daily.
As if aware of the happening in ODM, Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen yesterday tweeted: “I know exactly what Senior Counsel James Orengo feels. I have been there. You know you are right but you are still torn between standing by your principles and kissing *** to survive.”
“I didn’t know that opposition too eats its own people,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mbadi has claimed that Amollo was axed from JLAC after he sent a text message to Raila threatening to resign.
Mbadi told People Daily the embattled lawmaker had threatened to resign both as JLAC vice chairperson and Rarieda MP.
“It is true he sent a text to the party leader saying he could resign from JLAC and as MP,” said Mbadi.
He said Amollo needed time off “to mature for the position”.
According to the ODM chairman, Amollo and Orengo made some remarks when they visited Kadem-Nyatike constituency and Raila got an audio about their remarks.
Mbadi claimed Raila called the two about their remarks and asked them to come to Nairobi for a discussion about the issue on Monday.
“The next thing that Amollo did was to send Raila a text that he can resign as a vice-chair for JLAC and as the MP for Rarieda. Who is he blackmailing?” Mbadi posed.
Amollo and Orengo have been critical about what they term as unfair distribution of 70 constituencies created by the BBI Bill.
Efforts to get a comment from Amollo on the claims made by Mbadi did not succeed as he neither picked our calls nor responded to text messages.
By People’s Daily