PARTY DISCORD

ODM dewhips seven city MCAs from committees over Imwatok ouster

They were accused of violating the party position on assembly leadership, sowing division and breaking into an office

In Summary

•Highrise MCA Kennedy Oyugi began the process two weeks ago when he claimed to have collected 32 signatures from 56 ODM members, in support of removing Minority Whip Imwatok from office.

• Imwatok said the actions by his colleagues amount to gross misconduct and insubordination in accordance with the applicable provisions of ODM constitution and party disciplinary rules.

Minority Leader John Mbadi at Parliament. /FILE
Minority Leader John Mbadi at Parliament. /FILE

The Orange Democratic Movement party has dewhipped seven Nairobi MCAs as divisions and wrangles deepen in the County Assembly.

The Party’s chairman John Mbadi called upon the embattled Minority Whip to take action and remove the MCAs from all assembly committees.

In a letter dated May 26, 2021   addressed to Imwatok, Mbadi called him to take action against the seven for going against the party position and acting contrary to party instructions.

"As the party pursues avenues in resolving issues bedeviling the minority party in the assembly, you are hereby instructed to discharge the following members from all committees until such a time to be communicated by my office," read the letter in part.

The seven include Lower Savannah MCA Nicholas Okumu, who was installed by the rebel group as interim minority whip last week, Kennedy Oyugi of Highrise, Kabiro’s Clarence Munga, and Fredrick Omondi of Kayole Central.

Others are Mathare North MCA Jared Okode, his Ngei Ward counterpart Redson Otieno and Maurice Gari of Nairobi West.

The “rebel’ members have been accused of going against the Raila Odinga-led party’s position where they participated in the coupe to remove Imwatok from office.

Munga and Okode were among three ODM MCAs, together with Sarangombe MCA Lawrence Otieno, who voted with their Jubilee counterparts to remove public accounts committee chairman Wilfred Odalo, an ODM MCA, from the helm of the watchdog committee. 

Last week, Imwatok said that despite the party warning the members, they still went ahead and executed a leadership change within the party during a special sitting of the assembly Thursday last week.

The change in leadership saw Okumu replace Imwatok as the minority party’s whip, a culmination of a two-week-long process to remove the latter from the office that began early this month led by Oyugi who claimed to have collected 32 signatures, out of 56 ODM members, in support of the move.

Nonetheless, Imwatok said the actions by his colleagues amount to gross misconduct and insubordination in accordance with the applicable provisions of ODM's constitution and party disciplinary rules.

“The MCAs intentionally broke into the minority party's whip office with the intention of destroying public and party property and have incessantly abused the party leadership both in the mainstream and social media causing disharmony among members,” read in part the letter by Imwatok.

The terse letter by Imwatok followed a May 21, 2021 letter by Minority Leader  Michael Ogada instructing the former to institute disciplinary actions against errant members of the party.

 Ogada said a section of ODM MCAs on May 3, 2021 broke into the office of the Minority Whip with the intention of destroying public and party property.

He also claimed that during last week’s special sitting, the same MCAs colluded with the chair of the sitting to go against the party’s position regarding change of the minority’s leadership at the assembly.

“Further, even after the party clarified on this matter vide a letter dated May 20, 2021, they have continued to disobey and disparage the party,” reads the letter copied to ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna and Executive Director Oduor Ong’wen.

In the said letter,  Sifuna said the party had not sanctioned such a move and were conducting a probe into the actions of the MCAs.

“Kindly note that the party has not made any changes to the leadership and the same did not originate from us,” he said.

“While my office attempts to ascertain the propriety or otherwise of the actions taken, we urge that the status quo ante be reverted to immediately,” Sifuna added.