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Kenya: No Split in ODM-Kenya

In Kenya, an official of the opposition Orange Democratic Movement party or ODM-Kenya says the party is the only party that is capable of dealing with corruption and strengthening democracy in Kenya. Raila Odinga was reacting to a move this week by KANU to oust its national chairman Uhuru Kenyatta and secretary general William Ruto. KANU has merged with ODM-Kenya in preparation for next year’s presidential election. Retired President Daniel Arap Moi added fuel to the discussion by calling on KANU to replace the KANU officials who he said have joined ODM-Kenya. But Raila Odinga tells VOA English to Africa reporter James Butty the former president is living in the past.

“I think this just the retired President Daniel Moi trying to play from the real. But you see KANU has got a leadership headed by Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto, and Moi as a retired former president has no capacity to remove anybody from the party. The KANU has taken a decision to team up with the LDP and the ODM and the membership as individuals, and I want to assure you everybody that ODM will grow and become stronger and stronger.”

Odinga also rejects former President Moi’s that ODM leaders are not good leaders because they do not respect authority.

“Moi himself is a dictator and cannot give Kenyans a lesson in democracy. He knows nothing like opposition. We are acting as a responsible opposition. In other words, we are criticizing the government in order to create the checks and balances that are required. We would like to strengthen democracy, and that can only be done if the government of the day is made to account for its actions.”

Odinga blames current Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki and former President Moi of trying to cause a split in the ODM-Kenya. But he says the ODM is a popular party.

“Our members are very clear that they see the ODM as the only vehicle that is capable of removing the currently discredited government of President Mwai Kibaki and putting in place a government that will be able to deal with the crucial issues of poverty and reform that the people of Kenya require, and to deal with the issues of corruption, mismanagement and ethnicity.”

Odinga says ethnicity continues to dominate Kenyan politics since independence. But he says ODM-Kenya represents the face of Kenya because all the country’s ethnic communities are united in the ODM-Kenya.

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