ODM humiliates Wetangula, hand Senate Minority post to Orengo

By David Karani

FORD-K chairman Moses Wetangula was on Tuesday ousted by his ODM senators as the Minority leader in the Senate in a final humiliating move and replaced by his Siaya counterpart James Orengo.

The ignominy with which Wetangula was tossed out from the position deepens the wrangles rocking the National Super Alliance (Nasa) following the decision by its presidential candidate Raila Odinga to close ranks with President Uhuru Kenyatta through a handshake.

Wetangula, one of the four co-principals of the coalition was stripped the position after a meeting of 19 senators from the coalition that has 27 , most of them drawn from ODM.

The election puts paid to a letter from Nasa to the Speaker of the Senate Kenneth Lusaka on Monday maintain that they still recognize the Bungoma senator as the minority leader.

The letter was authored by Nasa CEO Norman Magaya.

The Siaya senator, a close ally of Odinga, will be deputised by Kakamega Senator Cleopas Malala.

On Thursday last week, the Orange Democratic Movement Parliamentary Group meeting at Orange House Passed a resolution to kick out Mr Wetang’ula over claims of mistreating his colleagues in the House.

The speaker was informed of the move but delayed granting ODM its wishes.

Lusaka ruled that even though the party’s meeting that resolved to have the senator replaced was valid, his removal would be suspended as the election of Mr Orengo as his replacement was not procedural.

Meanwhile, Ford-Kenya, Mr Wetang’ula’s party, says it was “not aware” of his ouster.

The party’s deputy leader, Dr Boni Khalwale,  told the party’s National Executive Council meeting in Nairobi that the party boss can only be removed by the Nasa summit comprising of the four Nasa principals.

He said the party had resolved to  push House speakers to strip ODM of its parliamentary leadership positions, saying “it has crossed to the other side of the floor.”

He was referring to the newfound love between ODM leader Raila Odinga and President Kenyatta.

“When you move to the other side of the floor, you cease being a member of the opposition, and you will be stripped off those leadership positions you got for being a member of the minority, ” Dr Khalwale said.

Consequently, Ford-Kenya has directed its members to seek rulings of the speakers of the two Houses on whether ODM MPs can continue holding minority leadership positions if they are found to have crossed to the majority side.

“We are happy to chart a new way forward without ODM. And we have agreed to enthusiastically hold the government and its new partners to account on behalf of the Kenyan people,” he said.

Last week, two other principals Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper) and Musalia Mudavadi (ANC) threw their weight behind Wetangula with Kalonzo insisting that Raila was not aware of the ouster plan.

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