Raila uses legend soccer star’s burial to reconcile with Otuoma
The MP was reinstated to his position of ODM national vice chairman. The party leader denies claims that the legislator ditched the party because he was bought by Jubilee
Cord leader Raila Odinga used the historic moment of the burial of soccer legend and coach James Siang’a to reconcile with Funyula MP Paul Otuoma.
Otuoma, Sirisia MP John Waluke and Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba had announced they would decamp from ODM. Otuoma later announced he is in ODM to stay, but had only resigned from his post as party national vice chairman.
Raila said, “I called Otuoma on phone and asked him to come over to this burial today, which he has honoured.”
He spoke on Saturday during the burial in Sifuyo village, Ugenya constituency.
The ODM leader reinstated Otuoma to his position of national vice chairman, saying his exit left a vacuum in the party hierarchy.
“He has his number back and is welcome to carry the sword to soldier on with the fight,” Raila said.
The former Prime Minister played down insinuations that Otuoma had ditched the party after being bought by Jubilee.
He said the Funyula MP had taken time off active politics following what he termed “fatigue”.
“Otuoma had not gone anywhere. He is back to carry high the political weapon against the Jubilee government,” Raila said.
Otuoma, who was met with ululation from the mourners, said he is in ODM to stay.
He said he is a founding member of ODM and has struggled to shepherd the party to where it is today.
The legislator affirmed his commitment to ODM, saying any leader deemed to have ditched his party formally tenders a resignation letter and a by-election is called to fill the vacancy.
“A perfect example of a leader who has resigned from his party was when Raila ditched his sponsor party and sort re-election on an NDP ticket,” Otuoma added.
“Together with Ababu, Raila and me, we are sons of mothers from Alego, so small issues arising within the family will be solved internally.”
Otuoma told nosy politicians to stop blowing issues out of proportion.
The MP said his perceived fallout with Raila was attributed to the party leader turning a deaf ear on in-fighting and divergent opinions raised by a section of disgruntled leaders.
He added that a little power struggle was blown out of proportion, with some colleagues seizing the opportunity to disparage him.
Otuoma added that despite all the upheaval within the party, members still look up to Raila to intervene in disputes and initiate truces.
Homa Bay woman representative Gladys Wanga, Funyula MP Paul Otuoma and Cord leader Raila Odinga in Ugenya on Saturday