ODM speaks out over post-poll coalition with Uhuru’s Jubilee

Monday, May 18th, 2020 00:00 |
Orange Democratic Movement (ODM)director of elections Junet Mohammed speaks in Parliament. Photo/PD/SAMWEL KARIUKI

Emeka-Mayaka Gekara

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM ) will not sign a coalition agreement with the ruling Jubilee Party for now but will base its engagements on the Handshake deal between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga, a senior official said yesterday.

The ODM director of elections Junet Mohammed told People Daily that whereas other opposition leaders had indicated willingness to work with Uhuru’s government and even signed a post-election agreement, the Orange party would continue to cooperate with Jubilee based on the Handshake framework.

“Some people especially in western Kenya and other ODM strongholds expect us to follow Kanu and sign a coalition agreement with Jubilee . . . we already have the Handshake agreement with the President.

We will engage with Jubilee on the basis of the Handshake,” said the Minority Chief Whip in the National Assembly said.

 The Suna East MP was making reference to the March 2018 political deal between President Uhuru and Raila, which resulted in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), spearheaded by the two leaders.

In what is seen as an effort to tame Deputy President William Ruto, Uhuru has signed post-coalition agreements with Senator Gideon Moi’s Kanu and Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) of former Bomet governor Isaac Ruto.  

Independence party Kanu and Jubilee have held a joint Parliamentary Group (PG) meeting which saw two of Ruto’s  allies kicked out of key posts in Senate.

The joint Senate PG saw Kanu’s Samuel Poghisio elevated to the Senate Leader of Majority.

He said ODM would continue to be the minority party “until after the referendum” and help the government get the economy back on its feet after the coronavirus pandemic.

“The ODM is keen to play a central role in the government’s economic agenda; we are ready and willing to engage with the government on the recovery strategy,” he said.

Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka has indicated his party’s willingness to craft a working relationship with the ruling party while Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi is also said to be planning a meeting to explore ways of cooperation with Jubilee.

On the Referendum Bill published by Ndaragua MP Jeremiah Kioni, the ODM official welcomed the move, cautioning that the poll should not be seen as any particular party’s agenda but an initiative by Kenyans to decide which way to go.

He noted that the referendum is a product of the Uhuru-Raila Handshake addressing the nine-point agenda agreed by the two leaders.

“Referendum is not about Jubilee or ODM, it’s a Kenyan agenda to find the best way of governance; it’s about the country.

Depending on the Corona situation, the reform process, including a referendum, has to be completed,” the MP said. 

Raila has declared 2020 will be the year of the referendum, a demand that has stirred protests  from the DP’s camp which has described it as a waste of public resources.

The Opposition chief  is pushing for the vote to entrench proposals by the  BBI team which suggests radical changes to the Executive including the post of prime minister with two deputies.  The BBI has also proposed creation of the Office of Leader of Official Opposition.

However, Ruto’s side has expressed reservations about the Raila push, claiming that is calculated to frustrate his presidential ambitions. 

But Raila has expressed regret that more than 50 years after independence, the country was still struggling with corruption and other ills, matter that is one of the key planks of the BBI.

More on National