Raila Odinga: Retire from politics? Me? Not now ...

 Raila Odinga

Azimio leader Raila Odinga. He has dismissed claims that he is about to retire from politics. 

Photo credit: Wilfred Nyangaresi | Nation Media Group

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition leader Raila Odinga has poured cold water on his succession talk, which has recently dominated Kenya's political scene.

Mr Odinga, who spoke on Sunday while attending a housewarming party at his sister-in-law Truphosa Osewe's home in Bondo sub-County, said that the time to hang up his boots was yet to come.

“Some people have been saying that they will take me back to Bondo. I want to tell them I know the way to Bondo better than them. That is my home and I know it better than anybody else,” said Mr Odinga.

“The day I decide to go back to Bondo, I will not seek permission from anyone. I will find my way there. Certainly, that time has not come; I am still here, so let them shut up.”

His remarks come weeks after his elder brother Oburu Oginga intimated that the leadership of the region might be bestowed on Ugunya MP Opiyo Wandayi's shoulders.

“After completing his university education, he looked for Mr Odinga and ever since, he has been growing steadily and learning from us,” Dr Oginga, who is also the Siaya Senator, said at a function in Ugunja sub-County.

“Leadership is not given directly; a leader grows like a mushroom on an ant hill. He has exhibited that, and as you can see we are soon leaving the stage for people like him.”

Even though the senator later recanted his statement, it has continued to elicit mixed reactions from different quarters.

Gem lawmaker Elisha Odhiambo on Sunday criticised Dr Oginga’s preference for Mr Wandayi, saying everyone should be given the opportunity to lead Luo Nyanza.

Mr Odhiambo is among the five lawmakers who were expelled from the Orange party on claims of ‘shifting loyalty’ after they were accused of going to bed with President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza government.

“It is unfortunate that Senator Oburu is endorsing someone like Mr Wandayi. You cannot do that because his brother Mr Odinga was not given (the mantle), he fought for it,” he said while addressing his supporters at his home in Mutumbu village, Gem.

“I believe if Mr Odinga is exiting from the political space, we should be allowed to fight for the same position because we have the potential.”

Mr Odhiambo hinted at contesting for ODM secretary-general post as he vowed not to leave the party.

“I will not leave the ODM party. As a matter of fact, I will be the next secretary-general of the Orange party. After that, I will be the next Luo Nyanza kingpin after Mr Odinga,” said the lawmaker.

Other leaders whose names have been floated in the Raila succession debate are Embakasi East MP Babu Owino, former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero and Mr Odinga’s daughter, Winnie.

The list also has ODM Chairman and nominated MP John Mbadi, former Cabinet-secretary Raphael Tuju, and governors James Orengo (Siaya), Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu), Ochilo Ayacko (Migori), and Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay).