Kenya: ODM ministers walk out on Raila over tribunal

odingaA meeting designed to forge ODMs unity ended in disarray when ministers sharply differed with party leader Raila Odinga on the handling of post-election violence suspects.

Ministers and their assistants walked out of the meeting convened by Mr Odinga at his Treasury office to protest his push for a special tribunal to try key suspects.

Only Industrialisation minister Henry Kosgey remained as Sports colleague Hellen Sambili led the walk out.

Mr Kosgey, who is the ODM chair, led the onslaught on Mr Odinga by telling him to his face that his push for the tribunal was meant to arrest Kalenjins.

The chairman was supported by ministers Dalmas Otieno, Otieno Kajwang, Paul Otuoma and Aden Duale as Mr Joseph Nkaissery and Mr Orengo jumped to Mr Odingas support.

Sources at the meeting, who asked not to be named, said the ministers were adamant that they will vote against the tribunal if the matter is brought to Parliament.

He will be finished

The government has been under pressure from the international community to form the tribunal before chief mediator Kofi Annans August deadline or the list of suspects be handed over to the International Criminal Court.

We told him the tribunal will finish him and the party and that the Waki Commission which investigated the violence did a bad job, an assistant minister, who asked not to be quoted, said.

Deputy party leader Musalia Mudavadi and chief whip Jakoyo Midiwo also said the tribunal was not the way to go.

Mr Odinga is said to have been saddened by the happenings and remained quiet as the ministers openly castigated him.

The ministers also disagreed on eviction of squatters from Mau Forest Complex.

Although the new constitution was part of the meetings agenda, it was never discussed due to the sharp difference.

However, the ministers agreed that the party nominations for the Shinyalu and Bomachoge seats be handled in a free and fair manner.

The 5pm meeting stretched late into the night with those in attendance keeping quiet on the agenda.

This comes at a time when sharp internal differences have threatened to wreck the party ahead of the 2012 elections.

After the meeting, there was a power blackout at Treasury building The back-up generator failed and some people at the meeting on the 14th floor, including Mr Odinga, walked to the ground floor.

Daily Nation

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