An unspoken battle to control Nyanza politics has erupted between Opposition leader Raila Odinga against Siaya Senator James Orengo.
Orengo is claimed to have assembled mostly first-time MPs, particularly those with a legal background to oppose Raila’s position on a number of issues.
The controversial vote in Parliament on Uhuru’s Finance Bill that imposed an eight per cent VAT on fuel and other taxes was the most recent sign of trouble between Orengo and Raila.
Raila had urged ODM MPs to support Uhuru’s tax increases but Orengo dismissed the proposal and urged the National Assembly to reject the presidential memorandum.
On Orengo’s side are MPs Otiende Amolo (Rarieda), Paul Abuor (Rongo), Peter Kaluma (Homa Bay), TJ Kajwang (Ruaraka), Millie Odhiambo (Suba North), Martin Owino (Ndhiwa), Mark Nyamita (Uriri) and Women Representative Dr Pamela Odhiambo (Migori).
The Orengo group opposed the Finance Bill in the House, despite an earlier party meeting that agreed ODM lawmakers would support it.
In what was termed as another signal that fraying party unity was getting out of hand, Raila’s spokesman, Dennis Onyango, urged Otiende to resign from ODM.
“I think you should go a step further and resign from the party and seek a fresh mandate since your views are no longer consistent with those of the party. That would make you truly honourable,” Onyango told the Rarieda lawmaker.
Orengo is reported to have disagreed with Raila’s move to seal the deal with President Uhuru Kenyatta without involving him and appeared to be relying on junior MPs for advice.
The Siaya Senator also defied Raila’s warning against toppling Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula as Senate Minority leader and destabilising ODM’s base in Bungoma.