What you need to know:
- Aisha Jumwa said she missed the meeting as she was outside the country.
- Kaloleni MP Paul Katana said he sent his regrets through ODM Executive Director Oduor Ong’wen as he was attending to urgent matters in his constituency.
- Taita Taveta Senator Jones Mwaruma said he did not attend the National Executive Committee as he was busy at the Senate.
ODM MPs who missed a meeting chaired by party leader Raila Odinga on Monday on Tuesday downplayed their absence even as Deputy President William Ruto who is eyeing to cash on the opposition fallout returns to the Coast on Wednesday.
Mr Odinga’s former key lieutenant, Aisha Jumwa (Malindi MP) who has irked ODM hierarchy by declaring support for Mr Ruto’s presidential bid said she missed the meeting as she was outside the country.
“I sent my apology to the ODM’s group (WhatsApp) notifying the leadership that I will not attend as I was abroad,” Ms Jumwa told the in a text message.
Ms Jumwa has termed Mr Ruto as not only the frontrunner in the 2022 contest but the “only runner.”
Kaloleni MP Paul Katana who is a close ally of Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho said he sent his regrets through ODM Executive Director Oduor Ong’wen as he was attending to urgent matters in his constituency.
NOT DECLARED SUPPORT
Although he has not declared support to Mr Ruto, Mr Katana, a former Nation Media Group journalist has been attending the DP’s events.
Taita Taveta Senator Jones Mwaruma said he did not attend the National Executive Committee as he was busy at the Senate.
“I am still in ODM. I have not started campaigning for anyone,” Mr Mwaruma said.
He said time for politicking ended after the last General Election adding it is now time to deliver campaign pledges.
He said he was yet to decide who he will support for presidency come 2022. The senator however said for now he will back Mr Joho who has shown interest in 2022 presidential race.
Kwale ODM vice chairman Nicholas Zani said Kinango MP Benjamin Dalu Tayari sent an apology stating that he was busy meeting people at his constituency.
Kilifi North MP Owen Baya also chose to accompany National Museums of Kenya officials in a visit to the constituency.
MPs Jones Mlolwa (Voi) and Andrew Mwadime (Mwatate) who also missed the event could not be reached for comment. Previously, the duo pledged to work with DP Ruto and supported his presidential bid.
Coast Parliamentary Group chairman Suleiman Dori who has rubbed ODM the wrong way by declaring support for Mr Ruto and poured cold water on Mr Joho’s ambitions did not respond to the calls.
More than 10 lawmakers from the Coast who have been attending Mr Ruto’s events kept off the retreat that was attended by more than 60 leaders to be briefed by Mr Odinga on his working with President Kenyatta.
Speaking after the party meeting on Monday secretary-general Edwin Sifuna said the “rebels” will be asked to explain in the next meeting why they did not attend.”
Mr Ruto who has been at the Coast six times since President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga struck a working relationship, is slated to be back in Mombasa today to attend the secondary school head teachers conference.
Additional reporting Lucy Mkanyika and Fadhili Fredrick