The Orange Democratic Party (ODM) Wednesday ousted Senate Deputy Minority Leader Senator Malala of Amani National Congress (NAC) and replaced him with Kilifi Senator Stewart Madzayo.
At least 20 senators, allied to ODM leader Raila Odinga, who attended the coalition’s Parliamentary Group meeting at Parliament buildings Wednesday morning unanimously signed a petition and ratified a decision by the Orange party to kick him out.
Malala, who is also the Kakamega Senator and close ally of ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi has been at loggerheads with NASA’s dominant party, ODM.
He is accused of among other things being a stumbling block to the coalition’s agenda, alleged gross misconduct and mischief in the recently concluded Matungu parliamentary by-election.
The embattled Kakamega lawmaker is also accused of disrespecting the NASA principals and hurling insults at ODM Deputy Party and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya.
Last year, the senator while belittling Oparanya’s stub at the presidency, declared that the county boss’s face is not presidential.
“There are two personalities that want to be presidents of Kenya, one is called governor Oparanya which is fine but surely his face does not look presidential,” he said.
“Just like he told us that our Deputy Party Leader has no face to be president. He also does not have a face to lead us,” Nominated Senator Beatrice Kwamboka said.
The decision by the ODM senators to dethrone Malala elicited fierce reactions from other NASA parties who termed the move as selfish and illegal.
It comes against the backdrop of a bitter fallout and nasty public exchanges between ODM and the other parties – Ford Kenya, Wiper and ANC.
They three have since teamed up with Kanu led by its chairman Gideon Moi to form a ‘Sacred Alliance’ ahead of the 2020 polls.
“I condemn the removal of Sen Cleo Malala as Senate D/Minority leader. It is selfish, unhelpful, unlawful, vindictive, intolerant, vengeful and against the NASA coalition Agreement. It has a direct link to the outcome of the Matungu by-election,” Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetangula tweeted soon after news of Malala’s removal broke.
Sharing Wetangula’s views, ANC leader said while all manner of excuses will be floated, it is clear that Malala was removed because of his role in the recent Matungu by-election where the ANC candidate, he campaigned for, won with a landslide.
“The decision by ODM to oust Kakamega Senator Cleophas Wakhungu Malala as the Senate Deputy Minority Leader is regrettable. This is an affront on democracy and all its tenets,” he wrote on twitter.
“I am proud of my Senator and I stand with him totally. He is a party stalwart whose freedom of speech and association we shall defend to the hilt. Kenya no longer has room for political deception, Big-Brotherhood syndrome and intolerance,’ he added.
Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa condemn the removal of Malala as saying his position was as a result of the NASA coalition agreement of sharing the leadership positions which was deposited with the Registrar of political parties.
“It is unfortunate that the Raila Odinga-led ODM is not honest and does not respect the agreement. They will soon be harvesting their dishonesty in 2022,” Mr Wamalwa, who is the Ford Kenya’s Secretary General said.
He went on: “They are sacrificing senator Malala for championing Luhya unity in the recently concluded Matungu by – election where ODM lost to ANC. They are bitter because of the Matungu by election loss”
“This is the same thing Raila Odinga did to Senator Moses Wetangula of Ford Kenya. Let ODM move out of NASA and take up all the leadership positions,” he said, adding that Operation Raila out of Mulembe Nation must continue.
NASA principals, Wiper’s Kalonzo, ANC’s Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya’s Wetangula also wrote a protest letter to speaker Kenneth Lusaka persuading him to reject Malala’s removal.
“An appeal is hereby being made for the speaker’s intervention not to confirm and suspend the unprocedural and unilateral removal of senator Cleophas Malala (ANC) by senate members of the ODM party and changes made by the same ODM party without consultation with its NASA partners,” read the letter signed by ANC chairman Kelvin Lunani, acting Wiper Secretary General Peter Mathuki and Ford Kenya national organizing secretary Chris Mandu Mandu.
They said the ODM’s decision is in breach of coalition’s power sharing agreement and beseeched the speaker to suspend the changes until such a time when the coalition caucuses and presents to you a legitimate lists.