Leadership wrangles in ODM have taken a new twist after officials issued conflicting statements on the replacement of Mr Magerer Lang’at as executive director.
The party on Wednesday disowned a declaration by its director of strategy, Mr Wafula Buke, that he had taken over from Mr Lang’at at the party headquarters, Orange House, in Nairobi.
That happened as the embattled Mr Lang’at claimed he was being hounded out of office to pave the way for installation of new officials.
He also attributed his recent violent eviction from a party meeting to differences over how to use the party’s Sh87.4 million from the Political Parties Fund.
A day after a team was formed to investigate Mr Lang’at on allegations that he was a Jubilee Coalition mole, Mr Buke on Wednesday went to Orange House and installed himself as executive director.
He said he had been asked by his colleagues to fill the void in Mr Lang’at’s absence.
“We cannot allow a vacuum to be there in ODM,” he told journalists at the party headquarters. “I have been his deputy and it, therefore, follows that in his absence, I take over.”
Mr Buke claimed he had been installed as the acting executive director by the party chiefs. He was accompanied by Membership Director Rosemary Kariuki and Nairobi branch Chairman George Aladwa.
However, before he could settle in Mr Lang’at’s seat, ODM Secretary-General Anyang’ Nyong’o disowned the change and promised action against Mr Buke.
Prof Nyong’o said Mr Lang’at’s fate could not be decided before he faces a disciplinary team, whose chairman is Mr Fred Athok.
“Mr Magerer Lang’at is the executive director of ODM, who is currently scheduled to appear before the party’s disciplinary committee as constituted by the NEC yesterday.
“Any public announcement by any unauthorised person to the contrary will attract appropriate disciplinary action.
“Mr Wafula Buke’s public announcement today has no bearing on decisions made by the party and he will be dealt with accordingly,” said Prof Nyong’o in a statement.
Before that statement, it had seemed that the decision to install Mr Buke as the executive director had the blessings of the party, since he was flanked by key secretariat staff.
Mr Lang’at had claimed that Party Leader Raila Odinga’s loyalists were plotting to replace him with a pliable director to clear the way for election of officials preferred by the party bosses.
He said he had refused to have the delegate register manipulated.
“By installing a new ED, they now intend to throw away genuine delegates list and bring on board puppet delegates.”