ODM leader Raila Odinga yesterday told party members they are free to ‘manoeuvre’ without fear of being gagged.
In a veiled reaction to Deputy President William Ruto’s forays into his strongholds, he said members can do as they please as the country is not in a campaign mood.
However, Raila told MPs who have shifted loyalty that they should be ready to toe the party line in 2022.
“ODM is therefore not on the campaign trail for 2022 and is not threatening those who have started campaigns,” the former Prime Minister said in a statement signed by his spokesman Dennis Onyango.
Raila’s diplomatic response to Ruto’s charm offensive is seen as a skillful strategy to avoid any political confrontation that could threaten his March 9 handshake deal with President Uhuru Kenyatta
He said for now, the party’s focus is on successfully pursuing the Building Bridges initiative to stabilise the country and put it on the path to progress.
“However, when the legally stipulated campaign period comes, ODM will whip all its members and rally them behind its candidate,” Raila said.
The opposition leader said the party had convened a three-day joint parliamentary group meeting in Mombasa next week. The meeting is expected to address growing disquiet.
“The retreat is therefore not a product of panic or a reaction to any recent political development as reported in section of the media today,” Raila said.
The Star exclusively reported that the Orange Party had convened a crisis meeting to map its political future following frenetic political raids by the Deputy President on opposition strongholds.
But ODM said the three-day retreat, which begins on Thursday next week, had been planned earlier during the party’s meeting in Naivasha on May 8.
Next week’s meeting will bring together all ODM elected and nominated governors, MPs and senators.