Junet-Raila ties send shivers among Wanjigi allies in ODM

Wednesday, August 11th, 2021 00:00 |
Orange Democratic Movement (ODM)director of elections Junet Mohammed speaks in Parliament. Photo/PD/SAMWEL KARIUKI

In the national political sphere and even in the Orange party, Suna East Member of Parliament lawmaker Junet Mohamed is a critical player by the virtue of his closeness to Opposition chief Raila Odinga.

Junet also wields influence in the party by virtue of being the National Assembly Minority Whip.

This is after the second-term Member of Parliament appeared to have wrestled for space at Raila’s inner circle after successfully elbowing out Siaya Senator James Orengo, who for years had been seen to be the former Prime Minister’s de facto right-hand man on political matters.

Besides, the MP has raised his political profile nationally after he emerged as part of the team that President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila appear to have entrusted with the responsibility to oversee the Building Bridges Initiative.

Faces rejection

That the MP, a rabble-rouser per excellence is a factor in the national politics was demonstrated last week when Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s ruling party, the National Resistance Movement singled him out in a harsh statement after ODM lawmakers  called a presser to accuse the neighbouring country of having political habits whose end result can only lead to chaos and backwardness.

Their move was in relation to Uganda planning to host Ruto in last week’s botched trips where allegations of money laundering have emerged.

But in what could easily pass as the biblical tale where Jesus, after facing rejections at Nazareth concluded “truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in his hometown,” Junet, who, also the ODM’s Director of Elections and a BBI proponent, is walking on a tight-rope due to a shaky ground in the constituency.

Already some professionals and party functionaries are keen to have him dislodged. 

While some ODM luminaries are accusing him of arrogance and abusing his closeness to Raila, a section of aspirants in his constituency accuse him of being an absentee MP, arguing that he has been concentrating too much on national politics but never visits his constituency in Migori where he now faces the greatest battle of his political career.

Discontented local professionals and a section of politicians are already working with “partners” in ODM, as they seek to have him vanquished in next year’s elections, claiming that he is more on national news than on the ground, with the running of the National Government Constituencies Development Fund left to his handlers.

“The main issue here is that the people of Suna East are not happy with Junet.

He is never at home to serve the constituents. Of great concern, he does not take criticism, he is ever demeaning people and using his closeness to Raila to intimidate people,” said Gad Awonda, a lawyer.

Awonda says political players in Suna East are aggrieved by a recent purported endorsement of Junet by Raila for re-election in 2022.

The lawyer was among a group of professionals and politicians, among them politician and environmentalist Amimo Adongo, who have declared interest in the Suna East parliamentary seat.They  were hosted by businessman Jimmy Wanjigi at his office in Nairobi recently. 

Wanjigi, who was a key financier of Raila in the 2017 election, has declared his interest for the presidency on ODM ticket.

Brave face

“We are reaching out to like-minded people within the party. Let no one claim that we are fighting  Raila because there has emerged a trend that if you decide to contest where some Raila allies are incumbents, a narrative is crafted that the ODM leader is being fought. They should leave Raila out of this,” said Adongo.

Those seeking to unseat Junet include Adongo, who has been attacking the MP over his leadership style, businessmen Bruno Liende and Odipo Jasweta, publisher and educator Hezron Onyango and Nairobi County Ward Rep Elias Otieno.

But Junet has continues to put on a brave face, claiming he has “no serious competitor” and when he was contacted over the Wanjigi meeting with Suna East professionals and Adongo, with brimming pride he gushed “I cannot waste time discussing none issues.

Those are briefcase-carrying politicians. Nobody knows them in Migori,”

Yesterday, Junet claimed  some individuals purporting to be his competitors are allegedly conmen with no moral ground to vie for any seat.

“I do not have time to respond to some people who have conned Chinese investors in the constituency. They are busybodies trying to use my name to gain political mileage,” Junet told People Daily.

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