Raila’s tough task of warding off Ruto onslaught in Gusii

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya presidential party leader Raila Odinga speaks to his supporters at the KICC.

Azimio party leader Raila Odinga.


Photo credit: Yasuyoshi Chiba | AFP

What you need to know:

  • President Ruto has already nominated former Nyaribari Masaba MP Ezekiel Machogu as Education Cabinet secretary and South Mugirango MP Sylvanus Osoro as whip in the National Assembly.
  • The nominations of Mr Machogu and Mr Osoro are a clear message by President Ruto that he intends to wrestle the region from Mr Odinga’s grip. 
  • How Mr Odinga manages the delicate balancing act of ensuring fairness in the distribution of limited positions at his disposal will be critical in maintaining his political bases and rallying his troops in Parliament. 


Azimio la Umoja One Kenya leader Raila Odinga will have to work hard to maintain his stranglehold on Gusiiland after President William Ruto moved to cut his influence by dishing out state goodies.

President Ruto has already nominated former Nyaribari Masaba MP Ezekiel Machogu as Education Cabinet secretary and South Mugirango MP Sylvanus Osoro as whip in the National Assembly.

The nominations of Mr Machogu and Mr Osoro are a clear message by President Ruto that he intends to wrestle the region from Mr Odinga’s grip. 

How Mr Odinga manages the delicate balancing act of ensuring fairness in the distribution of limited positions at his disposal will be critical in maintaining his political bases and rallying his troops in Parliament. 

Azimio has nominated Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi (ODM) as its Majority Leader in the National Assembly, Kithiani MP Robert Mbui (Wiper) as his deputy, Junet Mohamed (ODM) as Majority Whip and nominated MP Sabina Chege (Jubilee) as his deputy.

In the Senate, Kilifi Senator Stewart Madzayo (ODM) is the nominated Minority Leader, to be deputised by his Kitui counterpart Enoch Wambua (Wiper). Isiolo Senator Fatuma Dullo (Jubilee) is the nominated Minority Whip with Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna (ODM) as her deputy.

This means that the options available for Mr Odinga in appeasing the Gusiiland and the other regions that are yet to get a slice of the Azimio goodies are limited to the vacancies in the Parliamentary Service Commission and the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).

EALA has nine slots that will be shared between ODM and President Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza Alliance. 

Political analyst Amos Nyasani said that if Mr Odinga wants to keep Gusiiland, he has no option but to nominate “one of its own” to the remaining positions.

“If Mr Odinga disregards Gusiiland, he might as well have handed President Ruto that critical through pass to wrestle it from his grip,” said Mr Nyasani.

President Ruto opened the 13th Parliament on Thursday last week, with the two Houses officially set to begin next week.

Jostling for posts

Already, Nyamira Senator Okong’o Omogeni and his Homa Bay counterpart Moses Kajwang’ are fighting for the ODM nod to represent Senate in the PSC.

In the National Assembly, those fighting to represent Azimio in PSC are Sirisia MP John Waluke (Jubilee), Likoni MP Mishi Mboko (ODM), Mavoko MP Patrick Makau (Wiper) and Eldas MP Adan Keynan (Jubilee).

Mr Nyasani says that it is time for Mr Odinga to consider Mr Omogeni in PSC for his loyalty not only to Mr Odinga but to the party as well.

Mr Kajwang’ said he will not want to engage in the push and pull of who is suited to be in the commission.

“At the end of this, it is the Azimio coalition that will decide who will be in the commission. If given an opportunity, as I am qualified, I will serve and represent the interests of my party as required,” he said.

However, what will give Mr Odinga a headache is that of the 10-member PSC, Azimio is limited to three positions. 

The commission consists of the Speaker of the National Assembly, who is constitutionally mandated to chair it and seven members who are MPs in the two Houses.

The commission also has two members – a man and a woman – who are experienced in public affairs but are not MPs.

University of Nairobi lecturer Herman Manyora said that the limited spaces available in the Azimio camp to appease its support base puts Mr Odinga in a very difficult position.

“I can tell you that it is not easy being in Mr Odinga’s shoes at the moment. People do not want to know that he was not declared the President. They are pushing their own interests yet he doesn’t have the space to accommodate them. That is the folly of our politics,” said Mr Manyora.

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