Whether he meant to or not, Dr Oburu Oginga – Siaya Senator, spokesman for the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and the opposition leader Raila Odinga’s elder brother – may have just fired the starting pistol in the race to succeed Raila as leader of the opposition to President William Ruto’s government.
Raila Odinga himself hasn’t announced any plans for retirement any time soon but he’s 78 years old, reputedly not in the best of health and has stood for president at the last five elections all of which, one way or another, he lost.
Oburu Oginga backs Opiyo Wandayi?
It was a statement by Dr Oburu Oginga last week in which he pointed to a possible successor in the form of National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi, that seems to have been the trigger moment.
“Leaders just grow like mushrooms. They emerge as mushrooms do and that’s how Opiyo is growing and nothing will block him from top leadership because we have now left it for him. These are the people that will now guide us and give direction,” Dr Oginga said. “We have seen him shine and what we must understand is that leaders are not elected, even Raila who is now seen as the Luo leader; where did Luos sit and elect him as their leader?”
Who will succeed Raila? Luo Council of Elders add to Raila’s woes
It wasn’t just Dr Oginga, however, who put the cat amongst the pigeons on the delicate subject of Raila Odinga’s successor.
A few days after Dr Oginga’s statement the Luo Council of Elders met in Kisumu (August 25th) where, it was reported in the Daily Nation, the subject of Raila Odinga’s future and his possible replacement was discussed.
At the meeting council chairman Ker Odungi Randa, reportedly indicated support for Opiyo Wandayi, saying, “Leaders come and go. Wandayi is a young man who is a go-getter and that’s good for him. He is on the right path and he will succeed.”
Twelve candidates in the running to succeed Raila Odinga
The Daily Nation published a list of 12 candidates who may be in a position to replace Raila Odinga as the leader of the main opposition to President William Ruto’s government.
The Kenya Forum asked for comment from pro-Odinga supporters hailing from Kisumu and Kakamega. This is not a scientifically robust survey but this is what respondents had to say about each of the candidates in the race to succeed Raila:
Opiyo Wandayi (51) National Assembly Minority Leader
“This is a politician who is up coming but not yet fit to replace Raila.”
James Orengo (72) Governor of Siaya
“James Orengo is mature and able to replace Raila but age and being a Lawyer limits his chances.”
Anyang’ Nyong’o (77) Governor of Kisumu
“He is equal to the job but he is ailing at times”
Babu Owino (34) Embakasi East MP
He is fit with ideas, knowledge and willpower but he needs to grow up. May be after another 10 years he may be able to replace Raila.”
Winnie Odinga (33) Raila Odinga’s daughter
“This young Lady is very much like Raila. She needs more exposure and training on government policies and she needs about 15 more years.”
John Mbadi (51) ODM National Chairman
“John Mbadi is a possible Candidate but where he comes from, Suba, may be his impediment.”
Gladys Wanga (42) Governor of Homa Bay
“Gladys Wanga as a Mature Lady and politician, Ng’ar Wang’aya may be a possible replacement being a First Lady Governor in Nyanza who is steadfast and is seemingly performing fairly well. She may make history which eclipsed Martha Karua.”
Ochilo Ayacko (55) Governor of Migori
“Good but being a Lawyer limits his chances.”
Otiende Amollo (50) Rarieda MP
“Very able and mature, despite being a Lawyer can make one of the Candidates to replace Raila.”
Raphael Tuju (64) Former Cabinet Secretary
“If he restores his dislike of Raila during Kibaki Era, Tuju could be a serious contender for the position.”
Evans Kidero (66) Former Nairobi Governor
“Apart from being involved in numerous alleged corruption cases which have not been proved and the fact that he is warming for President Ruto, I could have chosen Kidero to replace Raila as kingpin in Nyanza.”
(If you’re interested in finding out more about the corruption allegations levelled at possible Odinga successor, Evans Kidero, consider reading this article: ‘Evans Kidero accused of corruption and mishandling of Mumias’)
Raymond Omollo (44) Principal Secretary
“A good greenhorn but still far from senior Leadership in Nyanza.”
If you have any thoughts on the strengths and weaknesses of these potential candidates, and you would like to make them known, reach out to the Kenya Forum through our X (formerly Twitter) handle and your thoughts may be included in our next publication on the matter.