Raila succession: Nyanza leaders fronting Opiyo Wandayi

Raila and Opiyo Wandayi

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya leader Raila Odinga (left) and National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi during a past event.

Photo credit: File| Nation Mediaa Group

What you need to know:

  • Reports have emerged about two camps angling to take over from Mr Odinga.
  • Mr Odinga allies are aligning themselves either with former Governor Ali Hassan Joho or former Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, both of whom are ODM Deputy Party Leaders.

A section of Opposition Chief Raila Odinga allies from his Nyanza backyard is now fronting National Assembly Minority Leader Mr Opiyo Wandayi as their preferred leader should the Azimio leader manage to clinch the position of the chairmanship of the African Union Commission.

According to the legislators, the Luo community must have a say in the party’s leadership in the absence of Mr Odinga.

They are also insisting that in any political marriage planned for 2027, the community will only settle for presidency or the deputy presidency slots as a bare minimum.

The leaders were speaking on Saturday at the burial of Tobias Lusi Oyoo (Tobby) of Wang'aya sub-Location, North East Kano Location, Magare Village, Muhoroni sub-County. Tobby is a brother to Mr James Onyango K’oyoo, Muhoroni MP.

The burial was attended by the leader of the Minority Party in the National Assembly Mr Opiyo Wandayi, Mr Samuel Atandi (Alego Usonga), Mr Anthony Oluoch (Mathare), Dr James Nyikal (Seme), Jared Okello (Nyando) and Dr Joshua Oron (Kisumu Central).

Mr Atandi kick-started the debate about the Raila succession saying nobody can fit into the shoes of the opposition leader, even within the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition. 

He however stated that there are capable leaders from the Luo community who can still steady and steer the ship.

“If Raila is going to the AU, we must have one of us from this region to steer the ODM party. Opiyo Wandayi you are our leader, do not fear, remain steadfast and go battle it out with others and lead us,” said Mr Atandi.

His sentiments came at a time when reports have emerged about two camps angling to take over from Mr Odinga.

Mr Odinga allies are aligning themselves either with former Governor Ali Hassan Joho or former Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, both of whom are ODM Deputy Party Leaders.

Mr Atandi stated that they remain leaders from the opposition and will continue putting the government in check because there is little the President William Ruto-led administration is doing for the people of Kenya.

His sentiments were echoed by Muhoroni MP Mr K’oyoo who rallied behind Mr Wandayi.

“I am working for Raila Odinga through Wandayi because he is sober and a very committed leader,” said Mr K’oyoo.

He accused some of the leaders of using the party to clinch seats and thereafter ditch Mr Odinga to work with their opponents.

But Dr Nyikal, called for caution saying the biggest in the Luo community is that Mr Odinga will get a better job than what people have been pushing him for.

He asked his fellow leaders not to wrangle among themselves even as they prepare to seek political seats. According to him, the community’s unity is vital for 2027.

"When your father goes away to work away from home, he doesn’t leave a vacuum, his sons remain behind to take care of the home until he returns.

"Wandayi is our leader in Azimio Coalition and in parliament and John Mbadi is the ODM Chairman, so we should not be worried that the party will be weak, it will not,” said Dr Nyikal who is also the chair of the Luo caucus in parliament.

Kisumu Central’s Dr Oron recalled how when I entered bunge and two weeks later Mr Odinga gave them Mr Wandayi as their leader.

“We were given Wandayi as our leader in parliament with a reason. So those who were saying Raila is going to AU and we have been left without a leader are mistaken. Wandayi is here,” said Dr Oron.

 Nyando legislator Mr Okello maintained that Mr Odinga remains the ODM party leader irrespective of where he is.

He insisted that no succession debate can go on within the party or coalition without the name of a person from the Luo community. He stated that both he and Mr Wandayi were capable of leading the opposition.

"Nothing stops Jakom from leading the party while in AU. But when we plan for 2027 and Mr Odinga is here or in Addis Ababa, as a community we will only enter in a political marriage that places us at the top position or second in command and nothing less,” said Mr Okello.

But when he rose to speak, Mr Wandayi steered clear of the topic and instead asked the party supporters to remain steadfast in ODM and behind Mr Odinga.

He chose to take Dr Ruto head on the current scandals that have rocked his administration.

Mr Wandayi challenged President William Ruto to urgently address the rot in the education sector, fake fertilizer saga and the doctors’ strike, saying the president can no longer delegate this important matter to his cabinet secretaries since the previous meetings between the unions and the ministry have failed.

“We are not sure come Monday what the situation will look like next Monday when doctors continue with the strike. Where we have reached, Ruto must lead the negotiations with the unions and not delegate this delicate task to ministers and senior government officials. If the health sector collapses there will be no country to talk about,” said Mr Wandayi.

He questioned how the NCPB stocked fake fertilizer and seeds, asking the concerned Cabinet Secretaries to resign for sanity to prevail in the agricultural sector.