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Sifuna Is Doing More Harm To ODM Than Good



“This exact time last year, it was said I was in quarantine with Corona. Today, you guys have fired me [from ODM], then what will you do next year, kill me?” This was the question Orange Democratic Movement secretary-general Edwin Sifuna asked on April 9 following a social media rumour he had been fired by his party boss Raila Odinga.

For the record, a secretary-general is hired and can only be fired by party National Executive Committee, not the party leader. So, I guess, Sifuna has his job secure until this organ communicates otherwise.

However, in my considered opinion, the question Sifuna should be asking himself is why the public, who are perhaps Orange party supporters, were wishing him the sack.

There are as many opinions on his conduct as there are people to think about it, but mine is: his sharp tongue is his worst enemy. His not so-thought-out public pronouncements often give the corporate ODM party a bad image. With his tongue, Sifuna has broken bridges where ODM should have build some, often with costly consequences.

In any institution, the office of secretary-general encapsulates organisational authority, power and importance. It is the face of the organisation and whatever comes from the office, advertently or advertently, often times, it becomes the party position on the matter.

Being combative, abrasive, adversarial, confrontational, polarising and or sharp-tongued should not be part of the attributes of the office holder, rather accommodation, wisdom, persuasion and diplomacy should punctuate their traits.

For instance, what does a secretary-general seek to achieve in “fooling” party members because it’s April Fool’s day? Does he imply his is a party of chumps who fall hook, line, and sinker for jokes? It is simply unacceptable!

Again, in Kenya we’ve learned that politics has no permanent enemies first hand. I, therefore, find it myopic when Sifuna chooses to call possible future Raila partners all manner of demeaning names. They may look desperate and “pretentious” today because they are in the other camp, but if tables turn tomorrow and Sifuna finds himself in their camp or vice versa, will he have the guts to face them or will they trust him for any meaningful business?

It is in the interest of ODM to tame Sifuna soonest because he is costing them dearly. It is not lost on the party supporters he has variously been accused of costing the party elective seats, especially in Matungu and Machakos, recently.

In politics, they say, there’s nothing like bad publicity, but bad news isn’t always good for business. Parties should think twice before entertaining leaders who are often in the news for the wrong reasons.

Without qualifying the description of Sifuna by ANC Musalia Mudavadi’s adviser Kibisu Kabatesi, he should not be allowed to “bring political juvenile delinquency to the high table”.

What Sifuna should find himself busy with is what directly affects ODM voters, and Kenyans at large —the rising public debt, Covid-19 impact, reforms in the energy sector and the push for zero-rating of essential commodities. Coining of phrases such as ‘band of pretenders’, ‘celerac alliance’ or ‘niachie alliance’, in reference to perceived or real political rivals, does not advance the interests of the people he is employed to serve in any way. I rest my case.

— The writer comments on social issues — SUZZANNE NATELA

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