Wetang’ula backers say disunited Cord risks loss to Jubilee

Bungoma Senator and Cord coalition leader Moses Wetang'ula addresses his party supporters at Muliro Gardens during his presidential bid launch on April 2, 2016. PHOTO | ISAAC WALE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Supporters of Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula on Monday warned that Cord risks losing to Jubilee if there will be no unity ahead of next year’s General Election.

Speaking during a meet-the-people tour of Busia County, which Mr Wetang’ula took part in, the leaders called on Cord to “put its act together” and work for unity.

Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa urged the coalition to ensure free and fair nominations to choose a strong presidential candidate for next year’s poll.

Mr Wamalwa said Ford-Kenya is a shareholder in Cord and not a “flower girl” and should be treated with dignity.

“We will not give certificates under the tent. Free and fair nominations should be done to choose the best candidate,” he said.

The leaders were making their first public appearance since the launch of Mr Wetang’ula’s presidential bid at Muliro Gardens in Kakamega Town that turned chaotic on Saturday.

Cord leaders, including Senators James Orengo and Johnston Muthama, who were named as convenors, did not attend the event.

Mr Odinga flew to Tanzania to visit President John Magufuli.

On Monday, Mr Wetang’ula and his main backer in Kakamega, Senator Boni Khalwale, confined themselves to calling for unity in Cord. Speaking at Murumba Market in Butula Sub-County, Mr Wetang’ula said Cord was the only alternative and the leaders must unite.

“To remove Jubilee, we need to work together. We are the only option for Kenyans,” he said.

Dr Khalwale said: “The Luhya or Luo alone cannot ascend to power without the backing of other regions.

“We need to support each other and whoever is nominated.”

Butula MP Michael Onyura, who was elected on a Federal Party of Kenya ticket, announced he would defend his parliamentary seat on a Ford-Kenya ticket.

There were reports that top Cord leaders shunned Mr Wetang’ula’s launch apparently after Ford-K breached a deal ahead of the function.

It is said that according to the deal struck at ODM leader Raila Odinga’s office last Tuesday, Cord was to take the lead in the proceedings in Kakemega Town.

“It was resolved that the unity of Cord must be upheld at all costs. Mr Oparanya, the Kakamega Governor, would be the first speaker and the Cord management board and secretariat would organise the meeting,” minutes of the meeting read.

Other resolutions stated that the number of speakers were to be limited, that Mr Wetang’ula would launch his bid and that he and Mr Oparanya would hold a press conference on Thursday, two days before the rally.

Dr Khalwale, the Kakamega Senator, would not be allowed to use the venue to launch his bid for the governorship.

Yesterday, Mr Oparanya blamed the Ford-K leadership for the chaos, saying they had failed to honour the deal.

He said Mr Wetang’ula did not turn up for the Thursday meeting and instead sent Tongaren MP Eseli Simiyu.

“Wetang’ula sent Eseli and I expected him to come with a programme, which he didn’t. Mr Wetang’ula claimed his plane was late but I was told he was at Lugulu, arriving in Kakamega at 8pm when I had gone home,” he said.

Mr Wetang’ula, however, blamed Mr Oparanya for the chaos.

Fearful, of the violence, he said he decided to keep away. “What was supposed to happen did not. Perhaps it is the reason Raila did not come,” he said.

Kakamega County Chief of Staff Nabii Daraja Nabwera appeared in court over Saturday’s disturbances.

The court rejected an application by the prosecution to remand for seven days to allow the CID to complete investigations.

Mr Nabwera, an aide of Mr Oparanya, is facing charges of promoting activities likely to undermine security and destroying evidence in his mobile phone.

The matter will be mentioned on Thursday and he was directed to report to the CID between 10am and 5pm.

[Source:- Daily Nation]