Businessman Jimi Wanjigi’s four-day visit to Nyanza and his ambition to become ODM’s presidential candidate in 2022 threatens to split the formation led by Raila Odinga.
What started as a warning to ODM officials in six Nyanza counties not to attend Mr Wanjigi’s four-day visit turned into chaos after the businessman’s convoy was built from stone in Migori.
Mr Wanjigi, however, has vowed to continue his visit to Siaya today and Kisumu tomorrow.
The riots in Migori left three people injured and the windows of three vehicles, including Wanjigi’s, collapsed.
Mr Wanjigi challenged Mr Odinga to openly condemn the incidents.
“It is a sad day for democracy within the party, as a few bandits can be hired to disrupt good participation. I challenge my party leader to go public and condemn this incident,” Wanjigi said.
He denied any outside interference, saying it was only planned within the party ranks.
“I heard people dragging the names of other politicians in this incident, but we know it came from senior party officials. I will not be easily intimidated,” Wanjigi said.
In a statement, ODM condemned the incident, calling it unfortunate.
“The party wants patience and accommodation for all political views. We urge the Migori police to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice,” the statement said.
But even when the party demanded an investigation, Mr Wanjigi’s allies pointed the finger of accusation at Suna East MP Junet Mohamed, accusing him of plotting unrest.
Mr Joseph Nyambori, ODM’s organizing secretary in Migori and Steve Mbogo, a member of the party’s national executive council, accused Junet of funding a group of youths for causing unrest. “We are aware of reports that Junet sent money to a youth group on Thursday evening to ensure the meeting did not take place,” Nyambori said.
Earlier, Mr Wanjigi’s meeting was disrupted by members from the ODM party shortly before his arrival. Maranatha Church, the venue for the meeting, erupted into chaos with part of ODM members accusing the president of hoping to break the protocol by arranging the meeting without involving the leadership of the county party.
County Chapter President Phillip Makabongo said Wanjigi “had organized a private meeting without following a clear protocol.”
Hours before the meeting, armed youths stormed the Maranatha Faith Conference, beating the delegates. Police were on the sidelines when windows and chairs were broken into chaos.