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

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties - ERIC OLOO @oloo079

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.

/ ERIC OLOO

Homa Bay woman rep­re­sen­ta­tive Gla­dys Wanga, Fun­yula MP Paul Otuoma and Cord leader Raila Odinga in Ugenya on Satur­day

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