NASA leader Raila Odinga. Photo/Courtesy

Raila Odinga is labeled as Kenya’s political enigma with respect to the times he has pushed for governance reforms and his general influence over Kenyan voting partern.

Yet, a symbol of the country’s reforms is clearly seen struggling to have his political vehicle Coalition for Reforms and Democracy CORD bended to a rule of internal harmony.

A replica of the same strife is observed in Orange Democratic Movement party that sponsored his State House bid in 2007 general elections and a key partner in the current CORD.

ODM has been faced with non-stop defections which political observers say are a thorn in Raila’s State House journey.

Update takes a look at 3 Coast, Rift Valley and Western defections that have had an impact to ODM’s command across the country.

Ababu Namwamba

Ababu Namwamba is now Labour Party of Kenya leader after defecting from ODM citing causes aligned to betrayal from top party officials.
Ababu Namwamba is now Labour Party of Kenya leader after defecting from ODM citing causes aligned to betrayal from top party officials. Photo/Courtesy

The resignation of Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba as Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) secretary general few months ago has been dismissed by Raila Odinga’s proponents who say Ababu’s political future is on a blink.

The Budalang’i MP resigned as ODM secretary general citing frustrations, betrayal and lack of respect from top party leaders.

READ ALSO: Cord Leaders to Meet Over Wrangles

Ababu is on record to having been the brainchild of ODM reloaded and ODM fresh later, composed of people ready to give the party fresh impetus.

The now Labour Party of Kenya leader is said to have demoralized heavily on Kasarani’s men in black disruption when he was about to be overwhelmingly elected as ODM’s Secretary General in March 2014.

Najib Balala

In 2013, Mvita MP Najib Balala officially quit ODM and became a registered member of Republican Congress Party. Balala by then said it was time Coast had its own strong party.

Najib Balala, a member of ODM's Pentagon Team in 2007 left the Orange party for Republican Congress in 2012 after being sacked as Tourism minister in a cabinet reshuffle. Photo/Courtesy
Najib Balala, a member of ODM’s Pentagon Team in 2007 left the Orange party for Republican Congress in 2012 after being sacked as Tourism minister in a cabinet reshuffle. Photo/Courtesy

On his official reception by Republican Congress vice chair Lai Khamis, Balala officially took over as the party’s leader. The Mvita MP said he stopped subscribing to ODM’s policies because it had been turned into religion.

Regarded as the longest serving Minister for Tourism, a position that he held from the beginning of 2008 till 26 March 2012, Najib Balala is now the country’s Cabinet Secretary for Tourism. 

William Ruto

William Ruto's defection from ODM is regarded as the biggest blow Raila Odinga has faced politically. Under his URP led team, Ruto formed a key partner in Jubilee government with 75 MPs and 12 Senators who secured seats on URP ticket in 2013. Photo/Courtesy
William Ruto’s defection from ODM is regarded as the biggest blow Raila Odinga has faced politically. Under his URP led team, Ruto formed a key partner in Jubilee government with 75 MPs and 12 Senators who secured seats on URP ticket in 2013. Photo/Courtesy

In 2009, William Ruto, then Agriculture minister in the 2008-2013 coalition government, said that his community had not sought a binding agreement with ODM before joining it and that in future they would only deal with a “serious” party.

Rift Valley MPs around that time had been vocal against government plans to evict people who had settled in the Mau Forest. However, experts said the continued presence of settlers in the forest was a threat to the entire ecosystem of East Africa, a view Raila Odinga by then, the Prime Minister supported.

READ ALSO: Raila Sounds Alarm Over Kenya’s Second Eurobond

But MPs drawn from Rift Valley said their people had overwhelmingly voted for Mr Odinga as their presidential candidate in 2007, and they expected him to be on the forefront in agitating for their “rights”.

It was further widely believed that Mr Ruto’s and Mr Odinga’s supporters had been fighting over the control of the party ahead of 2012 elections.

William Ruto, now the country’s first Deputy President under the new constitution has been quoted saying that ODM leaders are defecting because the party’s strategy tank is dry.

  • David Mugure

    Politics is all about what one gets, when he gets it and how he gets it. You can’t work with rebellious characters like Ababu, Ruto and all that bunch of self seekers. Same to their case