As Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga keeps everyone guessing on his presidential bid, his close family members are gearing up to contest for various elective positions in the 2022 elections.
Some members of his family have been campaigning discreetly, while others have come out in the open, declaring their interests in gubernatorial and parliamentary seats.
The ODM leader has up to the end this month to decide whether he will be making the fifth stab at the presidency on an ODM ticket, after the date for candidates’ submission of applications was extended from February 26 to March 31.
East African Legislative Assembly member Dr Oburu Oginga is leading the pack in the Odinga family’s quest to expand their political territory across Nyanza and the whole country. Mr Oginga, who is now 78-year-old, said he is considering running for the Siaya senatorial seat “where he is best suited to share his vast experience in legislation, spanning over 29 years.” He will be launching his bid officially soon.
He told Nation he will not be going for the governorship position, saying his past experiences had taught him a lesson.
“It is unfair to campaign and use a lot of funds only for some group of people to say that there is no way I will be governor and Raila also becomes President. They told me it will not augur well in the public domain,” said Dr Oginga.
The former Bondo MP was in 2013 among the candidates, alongside his rival William Oduol, who were disqualified from the Siaya governorship race by the ODM National Appeals Board over alleged irregularities during party nominations. He stated that what happened to him was suppression of democracy.
In Kisumu County, Ruth Odinga, his younger sister and former deputy governor will be seeking to dislodge Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o, currently serving his first term, in the ODM primaries as she tries to become the first elected woman governor in Nyanza.
“There is this proposal in the BBI that when the governor is male, his deputy should be female and vice versa. However, this has been misconstrued that only males should be county bosses making women sit back. It is for this reason that I will be contesting for the Kisumu governorship, to demystify this,” said Mrs Odinga.
She also told Nation that she is not riding on the popularity of her brother, the ODM Party leader to clinch the seat and therefore should not be judged by her family name. Also in the race are Dr Oginga’s two sons Elijah Oburu and Jaoko Oburu, who are also Mr Odinga’s nephews.
Elijah is interested in the Kisumu Central parliamentary seat currently being held by first term MP Fred Ouda. The 50-year-old Jaoko, who is currently the county executive committee member for Roads and Public Works, is said to have trained his eyes on Bondo parliamentary seat, a seat his father held for four terms.
Mr Jaoko is an astute mobiliser and has been involved in politics, being part of the youthful team Friends of Raila pressure group and Bado Mapambano Movement in 2017.
He is currently pushing the BBI agenda through the Young Turks Handshake Alliance together with Mr Zack Kinuthia, the chief administrative secretary in the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage.
While he has not come out in the open on the Bondo parliamentary seat, Mr Jaoko is focusing on the BBI and his role as the county executive. But when asked whether he will contest, he laughs it off saying: “We are yet to reach Canaan as envisioned by my grandfather Jaramogi Oginga Odinga.”
“I am very passionate about what I do and the journey Jakom (Raila) is on, that was started by Jaramogi and I really want us to achieve it. Until then, I cannot be comfortable chasing after my dream before I help my uncle achieve this,” he said.
Back in Siaya, nominated MCA Mrs Truphosa Osewe, Mr Odinga’s sister-in-law, will be going for the North Sakwa ward representative seat.