Just two days after Deputy President William Ruto admitted of his engagement with ODM’s Deputy party leader Wycliff Oparanya, the party has is calling on its supporters not to read mischief in the meetings.
On Thursday, Ruto said he is keen on selling the Hustler Nation idea to Oparanya who is also the Kakamega Governor.
“I have met Oparanya at least five times and he was not sent by Raila. We have talked about the hustler movement. He is not alone but there also several leaders including Cabinet Secretaries, Principal Secretaries and senior government officials,” Ruto said.
But the Orange party has insisted that none of its officials has been sanctioned to initiate alliance talks with anybody until after the Building Brides Initiative (BBI) process is concluded.
“The ODM party will start serious discussions about alliances with like-minded parties after the BBI process is completed. For now the party is intact and does not face any threat of disintegration,” ODM chairman John Mbadi.
Mbadi who is a close Raila ally charged that there are no alliance discussions where ODM is involved.
“If there is any ODM official who has met anyone else that was at a private level. We have not seen signals that the deputy party leader is about to leave ODM,” he said.
But Oparanya’s exit from the Orange party would significantly diminish ODM’s fortunes in Western Kenya, having remained the most dependable Raila ally and the senior most politician in the Orange party.
But on Saturday, the Orange party sought to set records straight on the issue of Oparanya meeting the DP.
In a statement, the Orange party said that Oparanya is a loyal member of the party and an ardent supporter of his boss, Raila Odinga.
ODM’s Director of Communications Philip Etale, confirmed that Oparanya has held a few meetings with the Ruto, in Nairobi or elsewhere.
“As the great Mahatma Gandhi once said “Whenever you are confronted with an opponent. Conquer him with love”, in all instances, Oparanya has been briefing our ODM party Leadership including the Party Leader on every detail of his discussion with Ruto,” said Etale.
According to Etale, Oparanya has not been on any mission of betrayal as some people may want it to look.
“Sometimes in politics, it is good to learn what your opponent is plotting and be able to get the best defense to counter them. Our ODM members and supporters should therefore not read any mischief in the said meetings that our Deputy Party Leader has held with the DP,” he added.
And should Oparanya decamps to Ruto, the move could jeopardize Raila’s grip of Western Kenya— a region that has overwhelmingly backed his bid for 15 years.
The move could also flip the vote-rich region into a battlefront pitting Ruto against the community’s two main kingpins Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi and his Ford Kenya counterpart Moses Wetangula.
With ODM facing another threat from a section of Coast politicians pushing for a regional party, the haemorrhage could be Raila’s biggest political test yet.
Ruto’s revelations on Thursday came just a week after he held a meeting with Oparanya at the Mahali Mzuri camp in Masaai Mara Game Reserve.
Sources said Ruto had dispatched his own chopper to pick Oparanya at his home in Kakamega.
Another meeting with Oparanya is said to have been held last Saturday at a hotel in Eldoret.
“The meeting I had with my friend Wycliffe Oparanya is an engagement we have had before. There are many leaders, not just Oparanya. Two weeks ago I met 17 other governors to discuss the future politics with them,” Ruto revealed.