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Raila Jnr’s fiery tweet exposes ODM underbelly

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In an uncharacteristic mien, a tweet by ODM leader Raila Odinga’s son, Raila Jnr, has exposed the soft underbelly of the Orange party.

The tweets interpreted as a warning shot to the party’s top brass, who have brazenly waged political battles to real and imaginary foes, stirred the hornet’s nest on Tuesday.

In the tweet, Raila Jr rebuked party officials for deviating from the deeply cherished norms to chasing clout and settling political scores.

He asked ODM to find “its way back to basics” and dwell on its development agenda clearly outlined in its manifesto, focus on service delivery, promotion of democratic space and protection of private citizens’ rights.

He also took a swipe at the party’s politicians, accusing them of not adhering to ODM’s philosophies and instead engaging in sideshows and name calling.

“…we’re not just about private jets and slay queens whilst abusing rival politicians, we have a development agenda clearly outlined in our manifesto,” Raila Jr tweeted, perhaps in reference to Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and National Assembly Minority Whip Junet Mohamed.

On July 9, Joho and Junet flew on a luxurious private jet to Dubai to visit Junior’s recuperating father after a minor back surgery.

The two posted their photos on the airport and inside a comfy plane. In a tweet, Joho said he was “off to Dubai with Junet to see Baba.”

Yesterday Raila Jnr climbed down and sought to clarify that he was not targeting anyone in particular with his tweet, and even apologised for any misunderstanding caused.

“As an ordinary ODM member my views are my own and not those of the party. I’m grateful to ODM for allowing democratic space in which different views and opinions are expressed,” he said.

Raila’s aide Silas Jakakimba dismissed Raila Jnr’s tweets as comic and trivial.

“This tweet and its opening line sound like those tabloid stories that begin, ‘Ten things you didn’t know about XYZ’…” Jakakimba tweeted.

But political pundits say the tweets were not by accident or fluke but a carefully calculated move to chop off some heads who have subjected the party to ridicule and disrepute.

Granted, Raila Jnr is no ordinary folk in ODM, as he is deemed the heir apparent in Odinga’s family tree.

Analysts observe that ODM officials have been opening too many war fronts that could disadvantage the party in the run-up to 2022 elections.

The acerbic Press statements, caustic tweets directed at Deputy President William Ruto, Amani National Congress (ANC) boss Musalia Mudavadi, Ford-Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka have complicated matters for the Opposition party.

Of concern has been the party’s cherished tradition of protecting public interest alongside the civil society. Critics claim ODM has abandoned its traditional role even as the party insists that the times have changed with the Handshake.

Anti-corruption credentials

Political analyst Martin Oloo poked holes on the party’s stand on graft, saying ODM had never been known to have a firm stand on the vice. He said the party was formed as a result of rebellion against the 2005 constitutional change.

“There is no doubt ODM is part of Jubilee, but it has no credentials on anti-corruption crusade. Some of those who have been mentioned for corruption at some point were in ODM,” said Oloo.

Analyst Javas Bigambo said Raila Jnr’s tweet could have been borne out of a discussion he had with one or more members of the party, who were not comfortable with the first lane that was not in sync with trends in ODM.

“He may have picked the idea from somewhere, but going by the criticism and the manner in which he articulated it, it appeared he was taking on top brass, including Junet, Joho, and by extension his father,” said Mr Bigambo.

Bigambo argued that it is possible there could be young ODM members who were uncomfortable with some of the party leaders living first-class life and trying to show opulence while the party wanes.

When it was born in 2005, ODM was the biggest party then, going by the parliamentary strength of 105 MPs in the 2007 polls. Today the party is a pale shadow of itself, with only 62 MPs in the National Assembly.

To Bigambo the statement originating from the son of the party leader is heavily loaded and should have the party talking and discussing the issues rather than dismissing them.

It does not also help that some ranking members of the party have been adversely mentioned in graft, including the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency scandal, which the senior party officials have been almost unapologetic about.

ODM Chairman John Mbadi yesterday defended the party’s stand on various things, including corruption and abuse of human rights.

Mr Mbadi said ODM had been helping President Uhuru Kenyatta to fight corruption.

He said before the Handshake, the Jubilee administration had failed to lead in the war against graft.

“The agencies charged with fighting corruption had become moribund and at the time we even wanted EACC to be disbanded. But since the Handshake the war on corruption has been heightened,” said Mbadi.

He dismissed Raila Jnr as just Raila’s son and termed the remarks personal.

“Raila Jnr does not speak for the party, he is merely Raila’s son. I do not understand why anyone would take his comments to explain the position of ODM,” said Mbadi.

Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wah, a Ruto’s confidant, used Raila Jnr’s tweets to depict the rot in ODM, saying even insiders were in agreement that the party had lost direction.

Mr Ichung’wah said the party was wasting away from the inside and was full of hypocrites who were scheming for the 2022 presidency.

Just last week, Raila Jnr took a swipe at Junet for failing to defend Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi’s freedom of speech when he was arrested for hate speech and incitement.

“Actually, Junet Mohamed, as Minority Whip in the House and senior parliamentarian, I believe your position should be that even though you don’t necessarily agree with what Oscar Sudi said, you will defend his right to say it. Freedom of speech is the cornerstone of our democracy!” he tweeted.

By Standard.co.ke

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Chebukati weighs in on BBI report  

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BY KEVIN KOECH

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati has given his two cents on the controversial BBI report.

Chebukati criticized ODM leader Raila Odinga and other stakeholders who came up with the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report, for portraying the election body as single handedly being the issue in every divisive election cycle.

He further lashed out at the BBI team for using the IEBC as a scapegoat through a statement on Friday the 23rd of October 2020.

He also condemned the changes the BBI report is proposing on the IEBC.

“IEBC notes that it has been singled out as the only independent commission and indeed entity whose establishment is sought to be removed by way of the proposed changes in the bbi report under divisive elections thematic area,” he said.

According to Chebukati, the BBI is counteracting some of Kenya’s gains in the election process.

“Additionally, the report claws back on the gains made over the years on electoral management in kenya. This targeted onslaught against the commission is not new as it has been occurring after every general election since 1992.

The sustained campaigns weaken and interfere with the independence of the commission which is guaranteed under article 88 as read together with article 248 and 249 of the constitution of Kenya 2010,” he added.

Raila has repeatedly called for changes on IEBC starting with commissioners.

According to him, this will increase people’s faith in the independent Commission.

The ODM leader also proposes that IEBC officials should only be in the office for only a three-year term.

They can, however, renew it only once if their tenure was transparent and effective.

The BBI also proposes to do away with the IEBC vice chairperson post who acts when the chairman is absent.

The report also proposes the change of titles to fewer titles such as Head of Department instead of the Director.

Returning officers should also only serve for one general election according to the BBI.

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Ezekiel Mutua hits at Pope Francis after endorsing same-sex civil unions

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BY KEVIN KOECH

Kenya Film Classification Board C.E.O Ezekiel Mutua has hit out at Pope Francis following his remarks on same-sex marriage.

In an interview for his upcoming film dubbed “Francesco” which premiered on Wednesday, October 21, the head of the Catholic Church endorsed same-sex civil unions.

He pointed out that homosexuals are also children of God who need families and should be protected by law.

“Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered,” he was quoted in CBS News.

KFCB boss took an issue with the Pope stating that a leader of such stature cannot endorse what is against the order of nature and God’s creation.

He added that Pope Francis should be condemned.

“A leader of the stature of the Pope cannot endorse what’s clearly against the order of nature and God’s plan for family and procreation.

“If he did, he should be condemned and his statement taken with a pinch of salt,” he stated on Saturday, October 24.

Ezekiel Mutua went on to defend Pope Francis saying that he does not believe that he meant to endorse gay union and he might have been misquoted.

He added that however if he indeed meant what he said then his advice should be ignored.

“I honestly do not believe that Pope Francis meant to endorse same-sex marriage, but if he did, then he’s grossly wrong and his advice should be ignored. I believe his statement was in the context of “gay human rights” but not the practice of homosexuality,” he added.

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Churchill speaks tough on people accusing him of being behind comedians’ woes

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BY KEVIN KOECH

Churchill Show host Daniel “Churchill” Ndambuki has rebuked Kenyans who blame him for the comedians’ woes.

Addressing mourners during the burial of the late Ben Maurice Omondi, popularly known as Othuol Othuol, the laugh industry director said that he started the Churchill Show with the aim of realizing opportunities among talents and not oppressing them.

Ndambuki previously attracted backlash from his fans when Churchill comedians are faced with depression or misfortunes.

He said that the wrath should be directed to the government and not him.

Churchill noted that he is just a common Kenyan who had a small dream and whose ambition was to change the lives of as many Kenyans as possible by helping them realize their dreams.

He added that the government had shown less effort in nurturing and supporting talented young Kenyans.

The comedian stated that the reason Kenyans bash Churchill Show each time something happens to the comedians is that it’s the only platform that they get to be seen, yet the government should be doing a lot to the comedians and added that he is neither the government nor has he ever been funded by the government.

Ndambuki also urged the comedians to make use of the social media platforms to build their brands and let their content known as well as earning a living.

Churchill has a number of times found himself on the receiving end with Kenyans recently accusing him of ‘misusing’ comedians resulting in depression that leads to their death.

In July, Female Churchill Show comedian Zeddy alleged that comedians in the Show only get paid if their art is aired on TV.

According to Zeddy, some comedians perform for months, but their shows never get aired, despite the expenses they incur trying to get on TV, which has thrown many into depression.

Othuol Othuol died on Sunday last week after a long battle with pulmonary Tuberculosis and brain Tumor.

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