Row Escalates In ODM Kisii As Chairman Defends His Visit To DP Ruto

Kisii County Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) branch Chairman Samuel Kenan Omwando has dismissed allegations, he has decamped after his meeting with Deputy President William Ruto.

KISII, Kenya, July 27, 2020 – Kisii County Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) branch Chairman Samuel Kenan Omwando has dismissed allegations, he has decamped after his meeting with Deputy President William Ruto.

This follows fresh wrangles at the ODM branch leadership in Kisii after he secretly visited DP at his home in Karen, Nairobi. Subsequently, two factions have emerged with the demand that ODM’s Kisii county branch chairman Samuel Omwando be replaced by his deputy Kerosi Ondieki.

Speaking in Kisii, Omwando said his meeting with the DP doesn’t translate to quitting the party. “The baseless accusation does not give them powers to remove me from the party,” said Omwando.

The Ondieki faction has accused Omwando of being a mole and wants him replaced. The group on Saturday called a press conference at the Kisii Sports Club to install Ondieki but youths allied to Omwando stormed the venue and scattered the meeting.

Omwando’s appearance at Ruto’s home on Thursday has been linked to the 2022 politics with the DP keen on making inroads into the larger Gusii region that has previously voted for ODM leader Raila Odinga.

Omwando claimed his meeting with the DP was meant to discuss development matters. “I have that freedom to talk to and meet whoever I want, why do you want to feel bad when I met with the deputy president?” Omwando questioned.

He said he is still the chairman of ODM in the county and he has no intention of decamping from ODM party to Jubilee. Omwando if he was to leave the party he would make it public.

He at the same time warned some individuals who he claimed were out to tarnish his name. He challenged those who allege he has defected to table the evidence.

ODM branch vice-chairman pronounced himself as the new chairman. Kerosi is a former Kisii county assembly speaker. He was flanked by the assembly’s Majority leader Timothy Ogugu.

They accused Omwando of being a sell-out. “We are here today to affirm my new role as the branch party chair from today going forward. As matters stand, Omwando has abdicated his role as the branch chairman,” Kerosi said.

But the youths heckled and dismissed the move as illegal. Group leader Nyakenyanya Mokua who is also the Nyaribari Masaba party youth secretary, defended Omwando against accusations of ditching ODM, saying they had not seen any communication from him to that effect.

“We admit Omwando went to see the Deputy President but at no time did he give a statement to say he has abdicated his post as party chairman,” Nyakenyanya said.

Omwando said he will continue serving as the party’s branch chairman until elections are called and credible polls conducted. “We have not conducted any elections to pick new leaders, so what you saw are frogs in water whose croaking won’t make a cow stop drinking water,” Omwando said.

Kerosi, however, accused Omwando of greed, saying his appetite for cash had pushed him to the DP. “How else can one look at it? He is a complete party sell out. As ODM, our close association is with the President through the Building Bridges Initiative and not the Deputy President,” Kerosi said.

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