Leaders react to ODM cracking whip on rebel MPs

In response to the purge in the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party that saw rebel Members of Parliament (MPs) including Elisha Odhiambo (Gem), Caroli Omondi (Suba South), Gideon Ochanda (Bondo), Felix Odiwuor, alias Jalang’o (Langata), and Kisumu Senator Tom Ojienda kicked out of the party for associating with President William Ruto, leaders from various political divides have weighed in on the matter.

Former Mukurweini MP Kabando Wa Kabando welcomed the move to expel the rebel MPs.

“If your politics is in conflict with the party that sponsored you, quit to face by-election. To anchor multiparty democracy, political cannibalism, and opportunism must end,” he said

In response to Kabando, Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) Chief Executive Officer Dr Ezekiel Mutua said the expulsion was undemocratic since there’s nothing wrong with politicians choosing to work with the government.

“It’s a contradiction in terms to talk of freedom of expression when one cannot tolerate dissent. Sad to see people like Kabando Wa Kabando who claim to be social democrats support injustice,” he wrote on his Twitter handle.

Leaders from the ruling Kenya Kwanza alliance did not shy from criticising the move by ODM. Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei argued that the party displayed double standards since Azimio leader Raila Odinga had also interacted with President Ruto on numerous occasions. “Raila has met Ruto several times; will he also be expelled from ODM/Azimio-OKA? This political conmanship, intimidation, and blackmail must come to an end! Kitawaramba!” he remarked.

Senate Majority Whip Boni Khalwale suggested that the expelled MPs will not be subjected to by-elections and that they will complete their terms unperturbed. “Small matter. This Senator and MPs will remain in office until the end of their term in 2027,” he tweeted.

One of the victims of the purge, Jalang’o turned biblical in his response. He posted a bible verse on his social media immediately after news of his ouster hit the headlines, “No trial is too heavy to lift! No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide a way of escape, so that you may be able to endure it. CORINTHIANS 10:13.”

Tom Ojienda who also affected was receptive to the changes and unapologetic. “My party has today expelled me for working with President William Ruto. I have no apology and will continue to work with the President,” he said.

Blogger Pauline Njoroge, who is an ardent supporter of the Azimio la Umoja coalition to which ODM is affiliated,  expressed uncertainty about the party’s decision, citing concerns about ODM’s strategy in Langata. Njoroge said, “ODM is making a very big gamble. Jalas defeated Nickson Korir with only 1,000 votes in Langata. If Jalango teams up with Nickson Korir in 2027, not even Winnie Odinga will defeat them. Jalango is loved by the masses. ODM is fighting a losing battle. Anyway, we still respect Baba. Resign threats won’t make Jalango and the team be loyal!!! We are washing dirty linen in public.”

In a statement read by ODM national chairman John Mbadi yesterday, the party leader Raila Odinga directed the commencement of the removal of the expelled MPs from the register.

“The members are deemed to have resigned from the ODM,” Mbadi said.

Mbadi further announced that MPs Mark Nyamita (Uriri) and Paul Abuor (Rongo) should offer an apology to the party and pay a Sh1 million fine. Mbadi clarified that Nyamita and Abuor appeared before the Disciplinary Committee in person and offered explanations that were considered by the committee, hence they were spared from expulsion. Women Representative Esther Pasaaris was fined a hefty amount of Sh 250,000 for defying the party and voting in favour of the Finance Act.

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