Inside James Orengo's plan for Siaya County

James Orengo

Siaya governor-elect James Orengo displays the IEBC election certificate. Looking on is his wife Betty Orengo.

Photo credit: Tonny Omondi| Nation Media Group

For over four decades, Siaya governor-elect James Orengo has played an active role in local and national politics.

Mr Orengo was first elected to the National Assembly in 1980 as Ugenya Member of Parliament.   

Being an established advocate with an illustrious career, Mr Orengo will be expected to juggle in his administrative duties as Siaya governor while watching over his law firm. Siaya residents will expect their new governor to devote his energy and time to transforming the county.

Mr Orengo has been in politics for the last 28 years. During the period, he served as MP for 18 years and ten years as Siaya senator. 

In Parliament, Mr Orengo has established himself as an astute debater.

Responding to concerns on whether he will devote his time to serving Siaya County residents as their governor, Mr Orengo said: “I have heard people claiming that Orengo is just good at working in Nairobi. What they don’t know is that I understand devolution because I was part of the team that was behind the push for the new Constitution.”

Mr Orengo also defended his decision to contest the governor seat, saying governors who served as MPs had done a good job after they were elected into the new position as county chiefs.

 “I will ensure there are policies to enhance good governance in Siaya as I focus on fighting corruption,” said Mr Orengo.

The outgoing Siaya senator will now have to adapt to the new schedules as the county chief which include chairing regular county cabinet meetings to formulate policies for running the affairs of the devolved unit and frequent inspection of projects.

For the better part of his political career, Mr Orengo has largely been known as a mobiliser of opposition and the people’s defender.

He has been arrested many for being on the ‘wrong side’ of the law.

In the 1980’s Mr Orengo, together with other youthful lawmakers, were referred to as the “Seven Bearded Sisters” by the late Attorney General Charles Njonjo.

Mr Orengo has not lost his political virility to date. He is the last man standing in active politics of the seven bearded sisters.

 During his campaigns, his critics accused him of being unfit to steer the county. They claimed he had spent much of his time away from Siaya.

ODM national chairman, Mr John Mbadi defended Mr Orengo’s candidature saying he was the best candidate for Siaya gubernatorial seat.

 “Let us not be persuaded by the enemies of progress who are out to eat from the county coffers. Mr Orengo is the best person to take Siaya to greater heights,” said Mr Mbadi.

Mr Orengo is inheriting a debt-ridden county with incomplete projects from outgoing Governor Cornel Rasanga who has been at the helm for the last ten years.

The former senate minority leader will be seeking to prove his critics wrong by having an overhaul in the management of Siaya County government.