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The Kenya Forum | Who Will Replace Raila Odinga? - The Kenya Forum

February 28, 2024

Summary

The tag of war has even roped in members of his family who appear to be divided on who should succeed him as the Luo Nyanza Political Supremo.

More by Rieko Mwenyewe

Who Will Replace Raila Odinga?

Who Will Replace Raila Odinga?

The Odingas - A family Divided?

Azimiyo Leader Hon. Raila Amolo Odinga’s bid for the Chairman of the African Union Commission, (AUC) has sparked an intense battle among his lieutenants to take over his mantle as the doyen of Luo Nyanza Politics. The tag of war has even roped in members of his family who appear to be divided on who should succeed him as the Luo Nyanza Political Supremo.

John Mbadi MP

On Friday last week, Mr. Odinga’s better half, Mama Idah Odinga, who was talking in Homabay County, rooted for Orange Democratic Movement Chairman, Hon. John Mbadi Ng’ong’o, as the best placed to succeed Mr. Odinga.

On the other hand, Dr. Oburu Oginga, the elder brother and the spokesman for Odinga family had backed the National Assembly Minority Leader, Hon. Opiyo Wandayi, M.P. for Ugunja, as the best choice for the Luo kingpin.

Raila has said that he has able sons and daughters who will fill his shoes in his absence.

MP John Mbadi for all the years that Raila has taken to train him does not need any further training. Mbadi is capable of taking the mantle from Hon. Raila. He continued that he wanted to leave that matter at that, that is Hon. John Mbadi, the Nominated M.P. of ODM is suitable to the task of leading Orange Democratic Movement Party from the time Hon. Odinga will be away from the limelight of Luo Politics.

Oburu Odinga Fuels the Fire

Dr. Oburu Odinga who is also the Senator for Siaya County, has last year fuelled speculations with a statement that hinted at the former Prime Minister possible exit from the political scene. “Leaders grow like Mushrooms. That is how Hon. Opiyo Wandayi will grow and nothing will stop him from being the leader. There are the people who will now lead us and give us directions”, Dr. Oburu said at a public rally in Ugunja, the home tuff of Hon. Opiyo Wandayi.

But at a recent interview within the Nation, the ODM Leader maintained that the Luo Leadership is not elective, adding that he will continue to support the community even if he secures the AUC Job, an issue which goes against the Roles of Integrity Leadership at African Union Scheme. He, however, described his bid as a sabbatical leave to focus on serving the Continent. But nothing stops him from returning to the local scene should the situation warrant it.

Regional Rivalry – Central Nynza Against South Nyanza

The race to succeed Mr. Odinga could spark a rivalry pitting South Nyanza, comprising Homabay and Migori Counties, against Central Nyanza Counties Kisumu and Siaya. While Mr. Mbadi hails from South Nyanza, Mr. Wandati hails from Central Nyanza.

It is also likely to pit youthful politicians against their older and more seasoned mentors, the likes of Eliud Owalo, Evans Kidero, Odoyo Owidi and so on of UDA. On the other side we have Paul Ongili, aka Babu Owino, Dr. Oron, James Orengo from ODM.

Out With the Old Guard?

Some of Mr. Odinga’s loyalties imagine that the exit of Hon. Odinga could spell doom for ODM and the Country, but this is far from the truth. Some of the rebel MPs from Luo Nyanza include Gedeon Ochanda, Bondo, Elisha Odhiambo, Gem, Mark Nyamita, Uriri, Caroli Omondi, Suba South, Phelix Oduor, Lang’ata, and Senator Thom Ojienda, Kisumu County.

Speaking about politicians who were hanging onto Hon Odinga’s coats to secure their positions, Dr. Kidero said those who are crying foul over Raila possible exit from local politics should not think only of themselves. Kenya needs to donate Raila to Africa for a bigger role. Political analyst Mark Bichachi, said some of the politicians in Mr. Odinga’s fold who are disgruntled about his quest for the AUC Job feel that the ease with which they have sailed through politics courtesy of Mr. Odinga may come to an end.

Raila Odinga Pushed Out?

There are those who are imagining that this is a way of pushing Raila out of politics. They don’t know that Raila is a force to reckon with. He is an institution and does not need to hold on formal position in a party to command political support.

Prof. Macharia Munene of the United States International University said that Mr. Odinga announcement to seek the AUC Job will not have much impact in local politics. His influence will continue as it was when he was the High Representative for Infrastructure in Africa. Whether he gets the Job or not he will continue to be a candidate in 2027 and beyond. President Ruto would like to see him out of local politics but it will not necessarily work.

Unlike Ukambani, where Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyioka has a big say in politics or in the Coast or Western where ODM Deputy Party Leader, Whycliff Oparanya and Hassan Joho have a head start, Mr. Odinga is not only the Leader of the Opposition Coalition but also the undisputed Supremo of the regional politics, the succession process in Luo Nyanza is likely to generate a lot of political heat.

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