Defiant ODM rebels meet Ruto at State House, vow to work with him amid threats

The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to work with the government to support development programmes in Nyanza.

Photo credit: PCS

Defiant ODM party rebels on Wednesday met President William Ruto at State House in Nairobi where they vowed to step up support for his government despite threats of expulsion by the Raila Odinga-led group.

The MPs, Gideon Ochanda (Bondo), Elisha Odhiambo (Gem), Phelix Odiwuor aka Jalang'o (Lang'ata), Mark Nyamita (Uriri), Caroli Omondi (Suba South), Paul Abuor (Rongo) and Kisumu Senator Tom Ojienda attended Wednesday's meeting.

According to State House sources, the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to work with the government to support development programmes in Nyanza and the wider region.

"They conveyed their appreciation on behalf of the people of Nyanza region for the bold decision taken by the Kenya Kwanza administration to address the historic problems in the sugar sector," the source said.

The meeting comes hours before ODM leader Raila Odinga is expected to make a 'big announcement' Thursday, with his handlers saying the Azimio coalition he leads is not happy with the pace of the inter-party talks and may reconsider its support for them.

The leaders also expressed support for the Sugar Bill currently before Parliament, which they have agreed to support to address the challenges facing the sector.

"They commended the President for the first commercial flight to Migori County on Wednesday, following an earlier commitment by the leadership, and invited the President to visit the region on a development tour."

ODM suffered a setback this week when the court stopped it from expelling the 'five rebels' from the party for allegedly supporting President Ruto's ruling coalition pending the hearing and determination of the case.

The Political Parties Disputes Tribunal threw the politicians a lifeline after issuing an interim order barring ODM from removing their names from the party register, emboldening them.

In a ruling, tribunal chairperson Desma Nungo issued an interim order suspending ODM's decision to expel the five politicians from the party.

Prof Ojienda and MPs Odiwour, Omondi, Ochanda and Odhiambo were among those whose expulsion from the party was suspended by the court.

"That in the meantime and pending the hearing and determination of the application, this court hereby makes interim conservatory orders staying the implementation of the decision to expel and remove the names of the five politicians as members of the ODM party," Nungo ruled.

She also granted interim orders restraining ODM from expelling and/or removing Professor Ojienda as a member of the County Public Investment and Security Committee.

The court has also restrained the Registrar of Political Parties from acting on recommendations sent to her by ODM to expel the five from the party.

This has the effect of suspending their election pending the hearing of the case challenging the decision to expel them for allegedly switching allegiance and collaborating with President William Ruto's ruling coalition.

In their case before the tribunal, the five accused ODM of unlawfully removing their names from the party's register through a fundamentally flawed process.