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. I have been involved with ODM since shortly before the referendum. While I am not a politician, I actively spent many nights in the glorious ODM days when we felt that there was no way for Kibaki to beat our united victory machine. Everywhere we went, the people of Kenya gave us hope and while our two leading Presidential consultants, Raila and Kalonzo, were always in noticeable competition, there was always the understanding that the ODM dream was larger. I faithfully believed this, along with a host of young eager professionals who gave their time and resources selflessly to the cause. Such people as Njee Muturi, Donald Kipkorir, Adil Khawaja, John Katiku, Tony Cege, Kathleen Kihanya, Gregory Owino, Recho Shebesh, Tony Gachoka and others. I do not regret the time I spent planning and strategizing. While we had several problems all along, the truth that no one ever wanted to disclose is what finally caused the irrevocable split. As a unit, we hid the painful facts I will outline here to the public domain. The pain of our separation, for us children of the movement, is as sharp as parental divorce. After the breakup of ODM, many of our youthful group followed their tribal masters. A few of us, perhaps more naïve, and of course more frustrated held on and clung to the dream of latter unity. Even we have now accepted that this will not happen, and in view of this, perhaps it is the ideal time to set the record straight. The split of ODM original was never really caused by a fight for the single presidential candidate, contrary to popular belief. At least not directly. The real problems started sometime at the beginning of March 2007. On 3rd or 4th March, Kalonzo sought out Julia Ojiambo in connection with the impending London trip. He had received information leaked to him by a Kenyan living in Birmingham to the effect that Bishop Deya had boasted to some followers the previous Sunday that he (Deya) was going to bask in very positive limelight the following week because he was going to chaperone the entire ODM leadership on their visit to the UK. Deya indicated that this would provide a vital springboard for his projected return to Kenya in January of 2008 without fear of prosecution. Kalonzo was disturbed at this news because the itinerary shown to him by Raila and discussed between them only mentioned Deya in passing and did not in fact give him any official role. After Kalonzo met Ojiambo, they agreed that this was a serious matter and that Kalonzo should find out more before deciding on the next course of action. Kalonzo spent the next day inquiring from his sources in London, and after satisfying himself, immediately placed a call to Raila. Raila expressed the view that there was nothing wrong with Deya ‘helping in some areas’, arguing that Deya had done a lot for ODM abroad (a well known fact) and spent a great deal of time and money for the cause. This is true, and not even his detractors can deny that Deya has sacrificed a lot for ODM, both in time and money. Raila also explained that it was too close to the visit to kick out Deya and replace him with another organizer, there simply was no time. Kalonzo’s problem with Deya is that Kalonzo believed that his popularity stemmed from his clean cut Christian image (largely true) and that association with Deya would irrevocably damage his reputation. He consulted with his clique of religious leaders who agreed wholeheartedly. In addition, he then held a lengthy meeting with Ruto and Uhuru who agreed with him, but these two asked him to be patient and
give them time to speak to Raila. Uhuru even offered to help with alternate logistical arrangements. When Ruto and Uhuru spoke with Raila on the evening of the 6tth March, he listened carefully but stood firm on the matter of Deya. It was dawning on the others that Raila would not budge on this one. Musalia’s opinion was secondary since he was never on the travel schedule anyway and had only been remotely involved. By the morning of 7th March, the matter was at an impasse. Kalonzo was unwilling to commit what he felt would be political suicide by being seen with Deya. In addition, he felt that Raila would suffer much less from such exposure because Raila has never packaged himself as a moralist. Kalonzo felt that Raila was aware of this and did not mind the controversy that would compromise Kalonzo and reduce his ‘clean’ image. Deya had been given a very prominent role in the visit and this was to be flashed to all leading dailies and electronic media. By the night of the 7th, Kalonzo had made up his mind not to go. The information about Deya’s role had been confirmed by Uhuru with his excellent and reliable contacts in London . Ojiambo, another devout Christian and mother figure, refused to ‘touch’ Deya. Uhuru and Ruto were the last to formally quit the trip. Raila was furious and tried to spread a story that Kalonzo was engineering a ‘coup’ in the party. However, the facts by now were quite well known and no-one quite bought this line. The media adopted a wrong version of the story that Raila was to be ‘crowned’ in London and that this was the cause of the disagreement. However, the truth is that at no time had the ODM top brass agreed to come up with the name of the presidential flag bearer during the London trip. Even Balala, who often sided with Raila, did not agree with him on this one. That is why, on the evening of 8th March, Raila caught the London plane alone, to be received warmly by Deya. The subsequent visit was much less low key than earlier planned, but yes, Deya played as large a role as planned and hosted Raila prominently. Subsequently, rumors that I cannot confirm or deny emerged that he was promised a pardon and Government position. Kalonzo had privately complained that Raila, as a confessed atheist, had no qualms about associating with the likes of Deya and that this was not the face of ODM he was willing to present. It is instructive that a key ally of his, Joe Kadhi, went on to write a stinging article later about this saga and its potential to scuttle ODM’s ambitions. The leading dailies all refused to carry this article and Joe Kadhi in frustration posted it on the Internet. Later on, Julie Gichuru on Nation TV interviewed Raila about having associated with Deya in London. He denied, despite a mountain of evidence and several photographs in evidence. Those of us watching the interview realized that Julie clearly was unaware of this mountain of evidence, and in a way, we were glad because at this time, we still dreamt of ODM unity. Kalonzo himself, even in his most bitter attacks on Raila, has chosen to avoid this matter. This is understandable, because a few days after Raila came back, the entire ODM went to joint rallies where they espoused unity and downplayed differences over the London trip. Kalonzo cannot now re-open old wounds and he feels it would cast him in a negative light to do so. I wrote this article because I share a completely different view. Now that ODM unity is irrevocably gone, I think it is important to set the record straight. Many people are unaware of what went wrong. Bishop Deya is a major blot to the opposition. While I agree that, as Raila says, Deya is innocent until proven guilty, the mountain of evidence against him is huge and alarming. He has never
given up his ‘miracle baby’ ideas, and as a mother of two young children, God forbid that such a man should have state protection! For me, this is much more dreadful than any corruption scandal. We can replace money, but the images of women whose kids were stolen haunts me to date. I will be called names and vilified by many political activists, including those who shared meals and drinks with me a few months ago. But these are the facts and those with a conscience will go to bed easier knowing that finally, the most disturbing saga of our recent opposition politics has come to light.
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