Being Raila's brother is not a crime, says Oburu Oginga on Senate committee fallout

Siaya Senator Oburu Oginga

Siaya Senator Oburu Oginga.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Siaya Senator Oburu Oginga has defended his quest to become a member of the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC), arguing that his relationship with Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga should not be used to deny him his rights.

Dr Oginga argued that being Mr Odinga’s brother is not a crime, noting that just like other legislators, he has a right to be on the commission.

In an interview with the Nation, he also denied allegations that he was fronted for four Senate committees, saying the correct number is two – Devolution and Energy.

“Being Raila’s brother is not a crime. Raila also has nothing, having unsuccessfully contested the presidency, and if I’m to be judged on the basis of being his brother, then it means I deserve this position,” Dr Oginga said.

He said his relationship with the ODM leader is a non-issue because the latter has no role in the government to warrant pressure on him to relinquish his interest in the PSC.

“If he was a President, then it could be understood, because I would be a brother to the President and thus seeking another position would not be justified,” he said.

Raila Odinga, Oburu Oginga, Ruth Odinga

ODM leader Raila Odinga (second left) poses for a photo with his siblings Oburu Oginga (left), Dr. Wenwa Akinyi and Ruth Adhiambo Odinga at the Jaramogi Memorial Golf Tournament in Kisumu on January 30, 2021.

Photo credit: Tonny Omondi | Nation Media Group

Dr Oginga spoke in the wake of a storm in the Azimio coalition over the selection of its members for parliamentary committees.

Nyamira Senator Okong’o Omogeni kicked up the storm on Thursday last week when he protested against what he called the ‘greed’ of some leaders in the Senate who allocated themselves several committee slots.

“If you have leadership, you must be magnanimous. You need to put service to the people ahead of personal interests,” said Senator Omogeni in Parliament on Thursday.

“On the minority side, the one which should be leading with example, our leaders have allocated themselves membership in all the sessional committees. Shame on us. Shame on us!”

The senator claimed that the Gusii region, which voted overwhelmingly for Mr Odinga, was shortchanged in the appointment of leaders in the National Assembly and the Senate.

“Nobody is more special in the contribution we made in garnering votes for our party leader, Raila Amollo Odinga. From the county of Nyamira, from the county of Kisii, we gave as much as we could like the senator for Isiolo Fatuma Dullo,” Mr Omogeni said.

“From Nyamira County, we delivered 129,000 votes to Raila Odinga. From Isiolo, Raila Odinga got 26,000 votes. He lost to William Ruto, who got 32,000. But as we speak, the only way you want to thank the Omogusi nation is to say we deserve nothing.”

Dr Oginga said the Azimio coalition parliamentary group had discussed committee placements, with leaders in both Houses asked to relinquish some positions to other members.

Oburu Oginga

Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga (left) and his brother Oburu Oginga. Mr Oginga is Siaya Senator.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

“Members had been advised to apply for two committees and there is no point of somebody belonging in more committees while others have only one,” Dr Oginga said.

He said that for the PSC position, both he and Mr Omogeni had expressed interest and it was agreed that Azimio coalition leaders would decide between the two.

“We still have the PIC and PAC chairmanship slots and these will equally be distributed amicably.”