In a rather bold move by ODM leader Raila Odinga, two warring groups and leaders within his party have made peace and vowed to work together for the greater good of the party. Sources close to the ODM leader reveal that even as he is slowly getting well from his back surgery, he took time to bring together his ODM deputy party leader and Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya and ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna. This is after the two leaders had threatened to fall out due to political differences between them. A situation that seemed to be slowly taking shape while Odinga was away for his medical treatment in Dubai.
Oparanya and Sifuna had fallen out based on the youthful factor within the party, with Sifuna accusing Oparanya of casting a blind eye on youthful leaders within the party and western region even as he galvanised the region’s support ahead of 2022. That Oparanya had only teamed up with Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa and neglected young and energetic leaders from their decision making table even as political alignments slowly come into play. It was a move that had seen Sifuna team up with Kakamega senator Cleopas Malala, Saboti Mp Caleb Amisi, Nominated Mp Geoffrey Osotsi and other local leaders to rival the Oparanya-Wamalwa led factions.
The Sifuna led group had even formed a political movement dubbed ‘Mulembe Youth Movement’ to drive their youthful agenda forward. But in a reconciliatory mood, Mr Odinga had moved in swiftly to bring the two leaders together, terming their rivalry as a threat to ODM’s dominance in Western Kenya. He also termed the rivalry as a threat to the Handshake with president Kenyatta and it was bound to deny the region development projects emanating from the said infamous handshake. Hence the need to have the two reconcile and work together as brokered by Mr Odinga.
Sources close to the meeting revealed just how Mr Odinga was candid to the leaders present in explaining how important it was for them to unite if at all they were to secure the support of the vast western region. Present at the reconciliation meeting were Sifuna, Governor Oparanya, COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli, Senator Cleopas Malala and Mp Osotsi. The leaders vowed to pull together going forward, with Oparanya and Wamalwa accepting to incorporate the Sifuna led team in their Western region’s development tours. The Youth movement formed by Sifuna was also renamed to the Handshake Team.