(KDRTV) – The dramatic removal of Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala as the Senate Deputy Minority Leader could be the last nail on the coffin for ODM leader Raila Odinga’s relationship with the Luhya community.
Malala was ousted after a NASA Senators’ Parliamentary Group Meeting on Wednesday. He has been replaced by Steward Madzayo of Kilifi.
Kilifi Senator Stewart Madzayo takes over as Deputy Minority leader after I Cleophas Malala have been ousted by NASA Senators. Anyway Ni Sawa tu, we move on regardless.🙏 pic.twitter.com/mz4Jmvm5MX
— Senator Cleophas Malala (@Cleophas_malala) March 24, 2021
For a long period, Western Kenya politicians have been very vocal on terminating ties with the former Prime Minister. For the first time in almost 15 years, ODM’s presence in Western Kenya is at an all time low.
The party won only 4 out of the 12 Parliamentary seats in Kakamega County in 2017.
ODM had hoped to win the recent Matungu by-elections but Malala spoiled the party for them.
The vocal and sometimes controversial lawmaker pitched camp in Matungu, and ensured ANC candidate Peter Oscar Nabulindo carried the day.
ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi claimed that ODM could still be bitter over Matungu and that’s why they decided to oust Malala.
The decision by ODM to oust Kakamega Senator Cleophas Wakhungu Malala as the Senate Deputy Minority Leader is regrettable. This is an affront on democracy and all its tenets. 1/3
— Musalia W Mudavadi (@MusaliaMudavadi) March 24, 2021
Interestingly, this is not the first time that ODM has removed a leader from Western Kenya from Parliamentary leadership.
In March 2018, Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula was dramatically kicked out with of the Senate Minority leader’s position and replaced with James Orengo.
I condemn the removal of Sen Cleo Malala as Senate D/Minority leader. It is selfish, unhelpful, unlawful, vindictive, intolerant, vengeful and against the NASA coalition Agreement. It has a direct link to the outcome of the Matungu byelection. Bure kabisa!!
— Sen.Moses Wetang'ula (@Wetangulam) March 24, 2021
Last year, Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa was dewhipped from his role as Deputy Minority Whip in Parliament. His position was taken by Simiyu Eseli of Tongaren, a Raila leaning politician.
With all these fights going on, it will be hard for the Luhya community to rally behind Raila like they have done since 2007.
More importantly, the ouster could catalyze the elusive Luhya unity.