Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Falling out with Raila? Why Joho and Junet are undersiege in ODM

Joho and Junet Mohamed in ODM

An imminent fall from favour has been exposed by a curt “demonstrate reasons” letter that demanded clarification from an ODM politician who was clearly the most influential person in Azimio leader Raila Odinga’s inner circle prior to the previously presidential election.

The legislator had seven days to respond with a justification for his lack of involvement in the party’s affairs.

Junet Mohammed, the MP for Suna East, lived the life of bouncing from one helicopter to another with Mr. Odinga in the lead-up to the August 2022 elections.

Often serving as the master of ceremonies at Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition rallies, he had considerable power and had almost ultimate say over speaker selection.

He really managed the presidential campaigns with Mr. Odinga’s approval, upsetting some people and pushing out some of the former premier’s closest and most enduring loyalists.

A few years prior, Mr. Mohammed had firmly established himself as Mr. Odinga’s undeniable trustworthy during the unexpected handshake with former President Uhuru Kenyatta on March 9, 2018, which was made public on the steps of Harambee House. Mr. Mohammed was the only politician to join the ODM leader in establishing the significant ceasefire.

Mohammed would have been appointed to Mr. Odinga’s kitchen cabinet if he had won the election and established a government. Narratives from others within their group suggest that Mr. Odinga had complete faith in him.

However, this seems to be a rapidly evolving viewpoint. It seems that Mr. Odinga has approved a letter threatening Hon. Mohammed with punishment, which may include his removal from important party posts.

On January 10, during the proceedings of the ODM Central Management Committee, a high-level party body presided over by Mr. Odinga, the third-term legislator came up for discussion.

The National Elections Board (NEB), which directly reported to Mr. Mohammed as the party’s election coordinator, was dissolved during the meeting in addition to talking about the politician’s absence from events and conferences.

Edwin Sifuna, ODM chairman John Mbadi, ODM deputy leader Wycliffe Oparanya, and National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi were among the other officials present during the meeting.

The authorities accused him of damaging the party’s agenda both within and outside of Parliament by his “continuous absence” from meetings of the Parliamentary Group and other party institutions.

Junet Mohammed is the Minority Whip for the National Assembly, the Secretary-General of Azimio, and the Secretary of Parliamentary Affairs and Campaigns for the ODM.

ODM sent Junet Mohammed a letter dated January 11, asking him to provide an explanation for his absence from organisational meetings. The vocal MP did not respond. Thursday marked the end of the seven days.

Part of the show-cause notification executed by ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna reads, “At its sitting on Wednesday, January 10, 2024, the Central Committee of the party noted with concern your continuous absence of its meetings and meetings of other critical organs, including the Party Parliamentary Group, over the past one and a half years.”

“Your actions have had, and continue to have, a detrimental impact on the party by depriving it of the expected contributions from your office towards the realisation of the party’s goals and objectives,” the letter viewed by the Sunday Nation continues.

“According to a committee resolution, you must furnish a thorough justification for the current situation within the upcoming seven days,” Sifuna said.

Mohammed said to the Sunday Nation recently that he has received the letter but that he has not yet been charged. He accused some party members of attempting to settle ideological vendettas.

Hassan Joho, the former governor of Mombasa, has likewise disappeared from party events. But the party hasn’t asked him to provide a justification.

Mr. Odinga’s defeat in the August elections marked the beginning of Mr. Mohamed’s problems inside the opposition alliance. He and other high-ranking officials were held accountable for purportedly botching Mr. Odinga’s campaigns by neglecting to deploy agents at voting places, a move that some opposition leaders said cost them the presidency.

However, Mr. Odinga has already refuted the allegations made against the Suna East MP, stating that he was the victim of intentional targeting. He said that throughout the campaigns, Mr. Mohammed and other Azimio secretariat employees fulfilled their assigned responsibilities.

Nonetheless, a few opposition lawmakers continued to argue that he was partially responsible for the defeat. In his book “Why Baba is not the 5th,” published last year, Mr. Saitabao Ole Kanchory, Mr. Odinga’s primary poll agent, characterised Mohammed as a guy with entrenched interests who kept everyone away from the former Prime Minister in order to retain his usefulness.

According to him, meeting Junet Mohammed during the campaign was similar to meeting Mr. Odinga in person.

“Junet Mohammed was a guy who claimed to be an expert in everything. He disregarded all that others said and made sure to keep everyone who may have assisted Baba at a distance. He made sure that no one approached Baba,” the author adds.

Junet surrounded Baba and kept him away from everyone who may have been of assistance in order to safeguard his own interests. “He pretended to know everything when he didn’t,” Mr. Kanchory claims.

Following these blame games, Mohammed—who was present for almost all of the Azimio presidential campaigns—became less involved in the opposition coalition’s operations.

During Mr. Odinga’s anti-government street rallies last year, which gave rise to the National Dialogue Committee, he was noticeably absent.

Additionally, he has missed many sessions of the ODM party organ.