Storm in ODM as Young Turks and old guards fight over House committee seats
A storm is brewing in former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s ODM, a situation that is threatening to split the 17-year-old political party.
At the center of the row is a dispute over House leadership positions and the pending sharing of committee slots in both the National Assembly and the Senate, following the allocation of key positions in the 13th Parliament to some members.
Embakasi East Member of Parliament Babu Owino and Narok Senator Ledama ole Kina, who are leading the Young Turks, have made claims of claimed betrayal of the youthful members by the top party officials when rewarding positions.
According to Mr Owino, his application to be appointed chair the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was allegedly given to Nominated MP John Mbadi, who is also the party’s national chairperson.
Voicing his frustration on Friday in Nairobi, Mr Owino said that if the party continues ignoring the younger legislators, they will seek another way to award themselves.
“I was fronted to be the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman by my fellow Members of Parliament, then the party agreed about this position. Yesterday (Thursday) I was called and told to leave this position to honourable Mbadi, the party chairman,” Babu Owino said.
But he has refused to play ball, saying Mr Mbandi has already been awarded the nomination slot, and doubles as the party chair, so giving him another position at the expense of others is not fair.
“Give the youth what belongs to the youth and give the elderly what belongs to the elderly. If we will not be rewarded as the youth in ODM, then we will reward ourselves.”
His stand has been backed by Senator Ole Kina who asked the party to address the issue seriously, failure to which they will move around the country to seek the attention of fellow youths.
“We have now decided that the time is now for us to speak to our party and to beseech our party to reconsider those decisions they are making because they will cost the party,” he said.
Mr Owino and Mr Mbadi have since extended their differences to social media. Efforts by Homa Bay town MP Peter Kaluma to broker peace did not bear fruit as the two MPs continue to attack each other.
Party leader Mr Odinga, who has been championing for the interest of the youth in the country, is yet to speak about the matter which is now threatening to tear his party apart.