Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna on Wednesday, July 8 responded to criticism the party has faced over the conduct of one of its members, Embakasi East MP Babu Owino.
The embattled lawmaker is currently out on bail after he was charged with attempted murder following the January shooting of Felix Orinda alias DJ Evolve at B-Club, Nairobi.
ODM and its leader, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, have attracted sustained criticism for allegedly protecting the firebrand MP for political reasons.
Sifuna, however, made it clear that the party would not hesitate to expel Babu if he was found guilty by the courts.
In a radio interview, Sifuna asserted that the rule applied to all party members, with conviction required for a party member to be expelled based on charges brought against them.
“He is not walking free. He has been charged and is out on bail. Our code of conduct is very clear. Once you are found guilty of a crime we will expel you from the Party. People look at his political party as if his politics is what informed his action,” he stated.
He reiterated that Babu was a member of the Orange party thanks to his Constitutional right to freedom of association.
Sifuna further pointed out the irony of being questioned by Kenyans who voted for President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto in 2013 when they were accused of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“We are the same people that defiled that and made sure it doesn’t matter what somebody is accused of. Your current President and Deputy, when they were elected, what were they facing,” Sifuna posed.
He argued that it was evidence of a much-needed conversation in Kenya about national ethos, one of the key issues identified in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) led by Uhuru and Raila.
He claimed that Chapter Six of the 2010 Constitution which deals with integrity had been ignored and forgotten, touting BBI as the antidote.
Sifuna observed that, at the moment, tainted individuals in public offices felt little shame when implicated in various scandals.
“What is our national ethos? How is it that if someone misconducts themselves in their private lives, they feel the shame that they cannot hold public office and resign. We need to get there as a country,” he asserted.