By Peter Mutuku and Brenda Mwende
ODM leader Raila Odinga has rubbed a section of Kamba leaders the wrong way after he metaphorically likened their loyalty to that of women.
Last Sunday, November 3, during a rally in the lead-up to November 7 by-election in Kibra, Odinga said he was confident that members of the Kamba community living in Kibra would support ODM candidate, Bernard ‘Imran’ Okoth, in the race to succeed Ken Okoth.
“Wakamba ni waaminifu. Hao ni kama akina mama… Wakisema wanakupatia, [ni kweli] watakupatia (Translation: Kamba people are loyal. They are like women. When a woman promises to give you something, she will fulfill that pledge),” said Odinga in a meeting attended by Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu, her Machakos counterpart, Dr Alfred Mutua, and Kirinyaga County boss Anne Waiguru, among others.
It is those remarks that have kicked up a storm in Ukambani, with former Machakos gubernatorial hopeful, Wavinya Ndeti, MPs Patrick Makau (Mavoko) and Robert Mbui (Kathiani) demanding an apology from Odinga.
A section of women from Kitui County also joined the bandwagon faulting Odinga over his remarks, which they termed as “careless” and “derogatory”.
“Raila Odinga’s remarks demean Kamba women and the community at large. We respect him, but this time around, he pushed the envelope too far,” a female youth leader in Kitui told K24 Digital on Tuesday.
However, Machakos MCAs, led by Kangundo West ward rep, Titus Kaloki, came to the defense of Odinga, saying his comments were taken out of context.
“Those attacking Raila over his remarks are seeking political mileage. We, as Ukambani leaders, are fully behind Imran in the Kibra parliamentary seat race,” said Kaloki, who, alongside three other MCAs from Machakos County, addressed journalists at a Machakos hotel on Tuesday.
The ward reps said they are fully supporting the unity bid entered into by Odinga, Ngilu, Mutua, among other Ukambani leaders.
Governor Mutua has also defended Odinga against attacks by a section of Ukambani leaders.
“Raila did not utter what the aggrieved leaders are alleging. He likened Kamba people’s loyalty to that of women. That is all. There is nowhere he said that Kamba women are of loose morals,” Mutua told K24 Digital.