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Raila and Kalonzo under pressure to give jobs

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By IBRAHIM ORUKO
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Just under a month since he was appointed as the African Union adviser on Infrastructure, the office of ODM leader Raila Odinga has received nearly 100 CVs from his supporters who consider his new position as an opportunity to get jobs for those who stood in his corner during elections.

The overwhelming demand for jobs from supporters is indicative of the pressure Mr Odinga finds himself in after his March 9 handshake which saw him recognise President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government following last year’s bitterly contested elections.

Also under pressure is former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka whose close working relations with President Kenyatta has landed an appointment as peace envoy to South Sudan.

With each of them having a foot in government, their supporters are exerting pressure on them to push for their appointments for State jobs as a way of spreading the benefits of the ‘handshake’.

In fact, one of the challenges Mr Odinga has had to bear is to explain what was at stake for his supporters after his handshake.

“True. There is a lot of pressure from our supporters over appointments,” National Assembly Minority Whip Junet Mohamed said yesterday, arguing that the burden of appeasing Nasa support base is with Mr Odinga.

However former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale insists that the Luhya community has gained nothing from the support it has given Mr Odinga.

“The Luhya community needs to look elsewhere for political guidance because their 15 years’ support for Mr Odinga bore no fruit,” Dr Khalwale recently told NTV.

Among those who are angling for State jobs are former cabinet minister Paul Otuoma, Hassan Omar, Silverse Anami, Jakoyo Midiwo, Prof Joseph Misoi, Kipkorir Menjo many of whom were key players in the Nasa coalition before the two presidential elections.

Others are former MPs Thomas Mwadeghu (Wundanyi), Mathews Lempurkel (Laikipia North) and Timothy Bosire (Kitutu Masaba), who is also the ODM national treasurer.

A bitter critic of Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong, Dr Otuoma defected to Jubilee Party after a fallout with Mr Odinga after what he considered bungled nominations. However, he returned to ODM after Ojaamong started gravitating towards Deputy President William Ruto.

He is among those being linked to a return to the cabinet in the event there is a reshuffle.

In Wiper, party chairman Kivutha Kibwana has been on the warpath with Mr Musyoka over the handling of the memorandum that he presented to President Kenyatta as part of their peace deal.

Prof Kibwana is unhappy that he was not party to the preparation of the memorandum and that his input was not sought before it was presented to the President and has threatened to quit the party.

The pressure on Mr Musyoka is particularly intense because all the Jubilee party candidates in Ukambani who lost in the last elections are now being forced to engage with him if they have to get any kind of assistance from the State.

Former Mwingi central Joe Mutambo, Mwingi North MP John Munuve, Mbooni MP Kisoi Munyao and Yatta Charles Mwangangi now find themselves at the mercy of the very person they had no time for during their time in Wiper.

In Parliament, Mr Odinga has been forced to reshuffle the Minority leadership team in the Senate to deflate the pressure of high expectations while at the same time ensuring ODM retains its image as one of the ways of addressing the impending challenges.

The removal of Moses Wetangula from the leadership of the Minority in March largely triggered this change after it became clear that the Ford Kenya leader was keen to use his removal as an anti-Odinga toll in the Luhya community.

Mr Wetangula was replaced with Siaya Senator James Orengo, who at that time was the deputy minority leader. Kakamega Senator Cleopha Malala was brought in to replace Mr Orengo to appease the Luhya community and the Amani National Congress, whose leader Musalia Mudavadi remains in Odinga’s good books despite the infamy that has befallen Nasa after the January mock swearing in of Mr Odinga as the people’s president.

In the same breadth, Ms Beatrice Kwamboka was elevated to the position of Deputy Minority Whip in the Senate in what was clearly a delicate balancing act to ensure that the interests of the Kisii community are retained within the party.

Ms Kwamboka replaced Ms Petronilla Were who belongs to ANC and hails from Busia County.

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