Nyanza UDA politicians hit out at ODM for ‘undermining’ democracy

Nyanza UDA politicians led by former Nairobi governor Evans Kidero have accused ODM, the dominant party in the region, of undermining other players.

Speaking at a press conference in Nairobi, the leaders expressed concern over what they said was a trend of intimidation, chaos and violence orchestrated by the ODM party, accusing it of resorting to such tactics to stifle competition from the UDA.

“What we are observing is a group still dealing with the aftermath of losing the 2022 elections. We strongly oppose ODM’s use of hate speech and ethnic incitement for political mobilization and warn that such tactics will only alienate Luo Nyanza from the rest of the nation. It is crucial to shift gears and enter a phase of negotiation and meaningful discussion. There is a transition underway, yet many of the ODM leader’s supporters don’t know that this process has begun, indicating a lack of public awareness of this ongoing development,” said Dr Kidero.

“The people of Nyanza have discovered that they are living in a barren land that cannot produce any products and they have decided to move and it is irreversible, if you look at the registration numbers, more than a third of the Luo voters have joined UDA and they are not going back,” he added.

Dr Kidero warned that the region was in danger of slipping back to the era of one-party monolithic dictatorship.

“The region is being pushed into a corner where only one political party can thrive by strangling others. That is not how our democracy works. This is how tyranny works,” he said.

This comes two days after an ugly incident at the funeral of former Migori County ODM chairman Philip Makabong’o, attended by ODM leader Raila Odinga. At the meeting, tensions escalated as youths armed with stones and crude weapons clashed.

Rongo MP Paul Abuor, who made a brief appearance, was threatened by the youths who accused him of collaborating with President William Ruto’s government against Mr. Odinga’s instructions, prompting him to leave the event.

Mr Kennedy Obuya, the UDA Homa Bay County chairman, while speaking during a press briefing, urged the government to investigate statements by ODM politicians that involve hate speech and ethnic incitement.

He pointed to remarks by National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi, Siaya Governor James Orengo and Migori Senator Eddy Oketch and called for a thorough investigation into their potentially divisive language.

“The Nyanza branch of the UDA Party rejects ODM’s political mobilization through hate speech and ethnic incitement and warns that these actions will only serve to isolate Luo Nyanza from the rest of the country,” he said.

Homa Bay businessman Sangira Stephene also condemned in the strongest possible terms the unprecedented and unprovoked attacks, some of which were aimed at the Interior PS Raymond Omollo.

“I would like to appeal to the ODM leadership to keep the PS out of their partisan politics. The PS has nothing to do with the outcome of the 2022 presidential election and the party’s dwindling fortunes in Nyanza,” he said.

Mr Sangira added that the PS was busy fulfilling its mandate according to the letter and spirit of the constitution and had no time for politics.

“No amount of name-calling will deter the PS from discharging his mandate, nor will it change the resolve of the Nyanza electorate to chart a new political discourse away from the politics of thuggery that has for so long been promoted by the ODM leadership.

At the funeral, the ODM brigade aimed their missiles at “traitors” whom they accused of using the party to get elected into office only to change their tune and work with their political enemies.

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