Why Chirau Mwakwere quit ODM

What you need to know:

  • Mr Mwakwere of the 'Zipapa' fame joinedo Wiper on Thursday and was received by Party Leader Kalonzo Musyoka.
  • He vied for the Kwale senatorial seat on a URP ticket in 2013 polls but lost to the late Boy who was on ODM.
  • Mr Mwakwere fell out with ODM diehards in the county in 2013 polls due to his heavy criticism of the party and Mr Odinga.

The hostility that met former Cabinet Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere's entry into ODM in Kwale could have forced him to shift to the Wiper Democratic Movement as he eyes the gubernatorial seat.

During a series of meetings in the county, ODM leaders had expressed unease over Mr Mwakwere’s shift to the party at the eleventh hour, at a time when they had invested their resources and energies ahead of the August polls.

Speaking to the Nation in an earlier interview, Kwale ODM vice-chairman Nicholas Zani said that during a meeting to strategise on the party’s senatorial candidate following the death of Boy Juma Boy,

it emerged that there was increasing rejection of “newcomers” to the party like Mr Mwakwere.


Mr Zani is a brother of ODM secretary-general Agnes Zani who is eying the senatorial seat.

Msambweni ODM sub-county chairlady Fatuma Juma had also warned: “We cannot accept projects to come here and get the party tickets at the expense of people who have been with the party and built it to its current strength and popularity.”

Mr Mwakwere’s  running mate, Mr Simeon Mkala, who attended the meeting, had vouched for every aspirant to be given an equal chance in ODM (nominations).

Mr Mkala, who represented Mr Mwakwere at the meeting, said that any form of “dictatorship” would spoil the party in the county which is seeking a united front to face the Jubilee Party.

“We want anyone who feels they need to stand for any seat on ODM or Nasa to be given equal opportunity.

"There should be no influence whatsoever because endorsing candidates will surely create problems for us,” he said.


During Senator Boy’s burial in Vanga, speakers, including Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, had pressed Mr Mwakwere to state which party he belonged to, but the former Kenya’s envoy to Tanzania only stated he was in Nasa.

Earlier, Mr Mwakwere had leaned towards ODM and even met its top leaders including party leader Raila Odinga and Mr Joho, a key political kingpin at the Coast.

“I want today to clear the air, I have quit Jubilee Party and now I am with my people in Nasa,” Mr Mwakwere told ODM supporters during his homecoming in Kwale after resigning as Kenya’s ambassador to Tanzania.

He promised his commitment to the party to ensure Nasa wins in Kwale in the August 8 elections.


Mr Mwakwere of the “zipapa” fame joined Wiper on Thursday and was received by Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka.

In 2013, he vied for the Kwale senatorial seat on a URP ticket but lost to Mr Boy of ODM.

Other aspirants seeking the ODM ticket to dethrone Governor Salim Mvurya are County Assembly Speaker Sammy Ruwa, former Permanent Secretary Mohammed Mwarapayo, Mr Zani, Mr Gereza Dena and Mr Issa Chipera.

ODM, which is still regarded as the dominant party in Kwale, was hit by the defection of Mr Mvurya and woman representative Zainab Chidzuga to Jubilee.


Some ODM aspirants in the county are said to have threatened to rally locals to back Mr Mvurya’s re-election if Mr Mwakwere is "imposed" as the ODM candidate for the governor’s seat.

Mr Mwakwere fell out with ODM diehards in the county in 2013 due to his heavy criticism of the party and Mr Odinga, a thing local pundits argue could also have made it difficult for the likes of Mr Joho to campaign for him.

On Thursday, Mr Zani said Mr Mwakwere had not “fully” associated with ODM and could have quit after realising he would not get a "direct" ticket.

Mr Zani claimed that former Matuga MP had demanded for a direct ticket in order to join the party.


“We are six of us eyeing the gubernatorial seat on an ODM ticket. Why should he think he is special to be given a direct ticket?” Mr Zani asked.

He added, “Joining Wiper was a foregone conclusion but if Nasa holds joint nominations I don’t know what he will do.”

Mr Mwakwere’s move to decamp to Wiper could further fuel rivalry between Wiper and ODM aspirants in the Coast, a thing that could pave way to Jubilee to penetrate the region.

In Mombasa, Mr Joho is facing stiff challenge from Senator Hassan Omar and Nyali MP Hezron Awiti, both of Wiper with Jubilee aspirant Suleiman Shahbal waiting to benefit from the spoils.

Nasa is still mulling over conducting joint nominations for its candidates to stand a better chance of beating those from Jubilee.