Claims that Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) ‘rebel’ MPs were on Sunday heckled in front of President William Ruto have attracted our attention.
It is true that Uriri MP Mark Nyamita and his Rongo and Bondo counterparts Paul Abuor and Gideon Ochanda had to cut short their speeches as they tried to address a gathering held at Sony Sugar Company grounds in Awendo, Migori County as well as another where a church service was being conducted at Uriri Technical Training Institute on Sunday, October 8, 2023.
At one point Mark Nyamita (the Uriri) MP was barred by rogues from accessing the dais on which President Ruto and other dignitaries were already occupying.
The leaders who have vowed to continue working with President Ruto, defying their party leader Raila Odinga, had accompanied the Head of State in his day-three working tour of the Nyanza region.
Siaya Deputy Governor Dr William Oduol was in the presidential entourage and did not encounter any direct hostility whenever he addressed the crowds.
However, Kisumu Senator Tom Ojienda, MPs Paul Abuor ( Rongo), Caroli Omondi (Suba South), Elisha Odhiambo (Gem), and Mark Nyamita (Uriri) were among the ‘rebel’ MPs in Awendo whose speeches were marred by loud jeers from the crowd.
Lang’ata MP Phelix Odiwuor alias Jalang’o did not attend the Awendo function but was in Uriri for an interdenominational service.
The MPs who survived expulsion have on several occasions decried a hostile home ground and the recent hostile reception was evident.
Most were forced to cut short their speech as they were shouted down by rowdy residents who seemed not keen to listen to them. So it is true that Rebel ODM Party MPs were Booed in Migori.
Mr Caroli Omondi said they will work very hard together with MPs from other regions to ensure farmers’ benefit.
Mr Ojienda told President Ruto to help address challenges bedeviling the sugar sector.
“As Nyanza MPs, we decided we will work with you. Some MPs and I saw it wise to work with the government so that development can trickle down to our people,” said Mr Abuor.
In September, the ODM party expelled its five members. The five were, Gideon Ochanda (Bondo), Ojienda, Odhiambo, Omondi and Odiwuor alias Jalang’o .
Mr Abuor and his Uriri counterpart, Mr Nyamita, survived the axe but were slapped with Sh1 million fines each.
The rebels however got a reprieve after the Political Parties Dispute Tribunal suspended the ODM party’s decision to expel them.
The tribunal’s chairperson Desma Nungo issued the orders stopping ODM from implementing the decision to expel the five MPs pending determination of suits filed challenging the expulsion.
Mr Odinga has been defending the move to expel the rebels MPS saying the party can only be strong when its members are united and disciplined.
He recently rebuked the MPs for what he termed as betraying the party, further daring them to resign from their elective seats and seek fresh mandates from the people on new party tickets.
“ODM must be strong as a political party…the party can be strong when there Is discipline….it cannot progress when there are cases of indiscipline,” he said.
“We want to see unity…you can’t move to another party claiming that you are looking for development. There are structures the leaders can use to get development. We don’t want betrayal.”
He added: “That’s why we took actions against those not loyal to the party. If you think you are ballsy enough, just come back to the ground.”
The lawmakers were accused of violating the ODM party’s Constitution and the Political Parties Act 2011 by openly associating with and supporting activities of a rival political outfit, as well as opposing lawful decisions made by party organs.
The party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) hence said they are “deemed to have resigned,” and will now “commence the process of removing them from the register.”
So is it true that ODM Party rebel MPs were Booed in Migori. Yes, they were.