Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Party Leader Raila Odinga on Monday, May 10, hosted Siaya Senator James Orengo amidst the looming Senate vote for the passing of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
Other leaders flanked by Orengo include Rarieda MP James Orengo, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu.
The meeting came amid reports of a looming fallout between the two leaders over the BBI process.
The statements released after the meeting, however, did not indicate the agenda – all terming it as a “lunch”.
From left to right: Siaya Senator James Orengo, ODM party leader Raila Odinga, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, and Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo.
“I had a great chat this morning with Governor Charity Ngilu, Oparanya, and together with Senator James Orengo whom I hosted for brunch. Thanks for dropping by,” Raila stated.
Orengo also took to social media to affirm that his allegiance to his party leader was unshaken.
“Very refreshing to catch up with my Party Leader Hon Raila Odinga, Governor Wycliffe Oparanya
Charity Ngilu,” Orengo stated.
Orengo has indicated resistance to the BBI Constitutional Amendment Bill as it currently is, arguing that it fails the test of geographical representation in the distribution of 70 new constituencies.
The Siaya Senator has teamed up with Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo and Oparanya in what has been seen as open defiance to Raila’s call for the BBI bill to be passed without changes. The trio has publicly claimed that the ODM party leader has been misled.
National Assembly Minority Whip Junet Mohammed has termed Orengo as a traitor for trying to disown a bill that he co-authored.
“Orengo co-chaired the committee that produced the final BBI. He cannot turn around now to say that that we didn’t agree on this or that.”
“He cannot run away from his baby. He is essentially trying to disown a document he himself, by the virtue of being a co-captain, authored. It is the height of political dishonesty,” Junet stated.
This led to rumours of Orengo being ousted as Leader of Minority in the Senate. The former Prime Minister, however, issued a statement clarifying that the party had no plans to replace Orengo as the Leader of Minority in the Senate.
“We wish to clarify that Rt. Hon Raila Odinga, the ODM Party Leader and the Orange Democratic Movement have no plans to replace Senator James Orengo as the Leader of Minority in the Senate,” reads the statement.
The National Assembly passed the BBI on Thursday, May 6 after 235 MPs voted yes while 83 voted no and two abstained.
The Senate will vote on the bill on Tuesday, May 11, to determine the fate of the proposed constitutional changes. It requires a simple majority in order to proceed to a referendum where voters will have the final say.
Siaya Senator and ODM’s Senate Minority Leader, James Orengo