Oburu Oginga: Embracing Ruto doesn’t mean he will have a 'handshake' with Raila

William Ruto

President William Ruto shares a light moment with Siaya Governor James Orengo and Senator Oburu Oginga at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology on January 14, 2023.

Photo credit: Tonny Omondi | Nation Media Group

Embracing President William Ruto during his two-day tour of the Nyanza does not mean opposition chief Raila Odinga had a ‘handshake’ with the Head of State, Siaya Senator Dr Oburu Oginga has said.

Dr Oginga said the arousing welcome Dr Ruto received in Nyanza has corrected the notion that the region is hostile to Raila’s political rivals.

He said that Nyanza leaders vowed that no more blood will be shed because of elections.

“We promised that we will not shed any blood because of elections. Our people embarrassed foreign countries such as the US who issued travel advisories after the 2022 elections,” said Dr Oginga. 

The Siaya senator on Saturday led a section of Nyanza elected leaders, including Siaya Governor James Orengo, in receiving the President in Bondo. 

“Greeting the President doesn’t mean we don’t have issues with him, there was no handshake between Raila and Ruto,” he said during an interview with a vernacular radio station, ‘Radio Nam Lolwe’ on Tuesday.

 During the interview, Dr Oginga addressed issues affecting the Luo nation, the President’s tour of Nyanza and the need for leaders to deliver services to Nyanza residents. 

 “I am not aware of any phone call between Raila and Ruto before the President’s visit. What I know is that our party leader gave us his stand on the visit…later we agreed to welcome the Head of State,” he said.

He also revealed that the Azimio leader had asked them to table before the President the development projects they wanted the government to implement in their regions.  

Dr Oginga said the President promised to complete projects whose contracts had been awarded.

Dr Oginga, who is the spokesperson of the Odinga family said the hospitality they accorded to the President does not mean they have forgotten the controversial presidential polls which the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya leader lost to Dr Ruto.

 He said that the country should wait for the Orange Democratic Movement leader, who is currently in South Africa, to reveal what transpired during the August 9 polls.

“Raila has promised to spill the beans on what went wrong in the last elections,” said Dr Oginga. 

He added: “It is finding the cure for the wound that will heal it and that is why instead of covering the wound, Raila will be trying to find the cure through speaking out. This will prevent future electoral injustices.”

There were concerns over the few appointments Dr Ruto had made from the Luo Nyanza compared to his predecessors.

Dr Oginga said the Head of State will soon be making more appointments despite the region voting overwhelmingly for Mr Odinga.

On whether Raila will make a sixth stab at the presidency, Mr Oginga stated that his brother is still young and may not be the first one to be president in his 80s. He, however, said it will be up to Mr Odinga to decide whether to contest for the presidency or not.

The senior politician warned elected leaders against focusing on the 2027 elections. He urged them to focus on service delivery to their constituents.