Cord leader Raila Odinga is expected to make the much awaited announcement, on whether he will contest for the Homabay senatorial seat, on Thursday this week.
Raila has been asked by a section of MPs allied to ODM to vie for the seat, which fell vacant following the death of his ally Otieno Kajwang’, a move that has been backed by some elders in the Homabay County. However, another section of elders from the county, led by Luo council of elders chairman Nyambiko Ongadi, have dismissed the plan to have the former Prime Minister contest for the seat, on grounds that the county has capable men and women who can contest for the position in the upcoming by election scheduled for February, 2, 2015.
“Mr Odinga cannot impose himself on the people of Homabay County as if they have no competent daughters and sons in the country,” said MCA Mr Isaac Nyandege.
They criticised the elders who have endorsed Raila for the post and maintained that he (Raila) should wait to contest for the presidency in 2017, a position that they will and have always supported him fully.
Raila hails from the neighbouring Siaya County but the constitution does not hinder a registered voter from one county to contest for an elective post in another.
Mr Kajawang’s younger brother, Moses Otieno, former Rangwe MP Philip Okundi, former NSSF managing trustee Fred Rabongo, former Raila aides Caroli Omondi and Silas Jakakimba are among those who have expressed interest in the Homabay senatorial seat.
Mr Tom Alila, who had emerged second in the 2030 senatorial seat after he lost to the late Otieno Kajwang’, has also been endorsed by another section of leaders from the County.
Yesterday, Raila met elders, leaders and party officials at his Opoda farm in Bondo yesterday, where he was endorsed for the position and ODM chairman John Mbadi, who is also the Suba MP revealed that Raila Odinga will declare his stand on Thursday at a meeting involving all the stakeholders at Tourist hotel in Homabay County.
The Raila factor in Homabay’s senatorial race has complicated matters for the other interested contestants, considering his political influence in the region and it’s almost certain that he will be voted in overwhelmingly in the event that he runs.
After losing the 2013 presidential election to President Uhuru Kenyatta, Raila was left to lead the opposition from outside as the new constitution only allows presidential candidates to contest only one elective post.
According to a recent poll by Ipsos Kenya, majority of Kenyans prefer that Raila should not contest for the presidency in 2017 but should instead endorse another person. The same survey indicated that Raila was losing some of his supporters to Uhuru, whose popularity continues to grow by day as his top notch PR driven leadership continues to endear him to Kenyans.
Based on the above statistics therefore, the HomaBay senatorial seat looks like the only viable option that Raila has if he is to remain in active politics.