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ODM leader Raila Odinga with Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka at Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium Kisumu during Madaraka Day celebrations on June 1, 2021.[Collins Oduor, Standard]

ODM leader Raila Odinga has ceded ground over the contested political parties funding in a last minute effort to woo back his estranged partners in the opposition coalition. Raila yesterday wrote to the four partner parties in NASA, agreeing to share funds attributed to Members of Parliament.

This was a climb-down by the former premier, who has previously insisted that he does not owe his coalition partners even a cent. Raila wrote to Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi of Amani National Congress (ANC), Ford-Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula and Chama Cha Mashinani’s Isaac Ruto. 

 

“The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) is appreciative of the constructive consultations that have taken place among the leaders of our respective parties,” said Raila in the letter obtained by The Standard.

“Consequently thereto, our party has deliberated internally and resolved that, without prejudice, we share with our coalition partners ODM’s share of the Political Parties Fund attributed to parliamentary (and excluding presidential, gubernatorial and county assemblies) votes for the financial years 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/2020,” added Raila.

Raila expressed optimism that the decision would bring to closure the “unhealthy exchange of words that has been attended to the matter”.

 

The latest development comes even as Wiper yesterday unanimously resolved to quit the coalition. Mudavadi’s ANC also made a similar decision last Thursday.

Kalonzo said the decision to severe links with ODM would not make them enemies, since they were still free to join forces in the new formation ahead of the next poll. The former Vice President said had Raila taken the move to resolve the money standoff earlier, NASA would not have disintegrated.

This, as he accused “extremists” in the party of misleading Raila to take a hard stance on the matter. “I have received a letter signed by Raila, and ODM has now agreed to share the political parties funding with the partner parties,” Kalonzo said yesterday at a press briefing. “I always knew there were extremists that always misled him. He had not seen salient clauses of the agreement that we signed on revenue sharing,” he added. He said the four parties would separately file the letter with Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP).

An agreement by the Opposition coalition indicates that partner parties were to benefit equally from the political parties funding attributed to the presidential candidate. The details are contained in a document filed with the ORPP on April 27, 2017.

“All votes accruing to the presidency shall be shared among the coalition parties. Funds due to the party from which the coalition presidential candidate has been attributed to the presidential vote shall be shared equally among the coalition parties,” states the agreement.

Previous efforts by the trio to engage Raila on the matter flopped, forcing Kalonzo to threaten court action. In a letter dated May 21, Kalonzo wrote to Raila over his lack of commitment to address the standoff’.

The outfit singled out ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna for fomenting mistrust and wrangles among the partners by besmirching “national leaders”. Wiper party yesterday welcomed the move by ODM, but indicated that they would still require negotiations to agree on what each party should get.

At the same time, Wiper also indicated that they would still engage ODM so that its members can continue holding parliamentary leadership positions.

Senate Minority Whip Mutula Kilonzo Jnr, Deputy Minority Leader in the National Assembly Robert Mbui and Jessica Mbalu, the Public Accounts Committee vice chairperson stand to lose their positions once Wiper formally exits NASA.

Yesterday Kalonzo said ODM should not be quick to kick them out of the positions for the sake of a “bigger political future”.

“Where the law is specific that the seat goes to the minority coalition, then we will consider negotiations with ODM. You see we are not divorcing ODM partners. This is not divorce, this is reconstitution,” he added.

Addressing the Press after chairing a Parliamentary Group meeting at the party headquarters, Kalonzo vouched for the One Kenya Alliance (OKA) that he said was determined to capture power when President Uhuru Kenyatta exits.

The emerging alliance has convened a joint meeting in the coming days to put in place a strategy of making inroads in various parts of the country. The joint meeting had initially been scheduled to take place today, but was postponed following a request by Wetang’ula.

“We have had a very useful consultation culminating into a decision to exit NASA and welcome a new formidable coalition. In making this decision, we have no hard feelings and are cognizant of the prevailing political environment,” said Kalonzo.

“At One Kenya Alliance, we are open to receive and work with other like-minded political players. One Kenya Alliance will be working with Jubilee and we also welcome ODM. I want to welcome ODM as we start a new alliance because this country is at a crossroad,” he added. By Moses Nyamori, The Standard

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