Raila’s headache as Orengo, Ruth eye governorship
They include Orengo, Midiwo, Rasanga, Ranguma, Nyong’o and his younger sister Ruth
Siaya Senator James Orengo and Kisumu Deputy Governor Ruth Odinga have entered the Siaya and Kisumu governor races respectively.
This will provide a fresh headache for Cord leader Raila Odinga and ODM ahead of the primaries next year. Orengo is a close ally of Raila while Ruth is his younger sister.
They will face Raila’s other close allies and staunch supporters in the primaries.
In Siaya, Orengo is expected to battle it out with incumbent Cornel Rasanga, businessman William Oduol, Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo and former PS Carey Orege.
Sources said plans are underway for Orengo to meet Ugenya elders at his home for blessings and to formally declare his interest at Siaya Stadium.
Orengo will be riding on his vast experience in politics and his advocacy for democracy.
However, some county leaders have publicly declared their preferred candidate in the Siaya governor race.
Rasanga has received public endorsement from county and other Nyanza leaders.
During an ID campaign drive in Ahindi Garden, Siaya town, last month, Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi and Siaya woman representative Christine Ombaka endorsed Rasanga.
Wandayi, a close ally of Raila, said they will only consider loyal party members for top county positions, like Rasanga, who has been tried and tested.
MIDIWO VS ORENGO
Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo is working closely with Gumbo and Oduol after parting ways with Orengo. He has said he will name his preferred Siaya governor candidate in December.
Midiwo and Orengo are said to have parted ways after failing to agree on a list that would have seen Orengo run for Siaya governor and Midiwo as senator. Orengo has proposed Oburu Oginga for the Senate seat.
Midiwo and Wandayi are not reading from the same script on who should be the next governor. Wandayi is advocating Rasanga’s reelection while Midiwo has sworn to dislodge Rasanga.
RUTH’S SECOND ATTEMPT
In Kisumu, Ruth said she is ready to face incumbent Jack Ranguma, Senator Anyang Nyong’o, businessman Hezron McObewa, architect Chris Ondiek and Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organisation chairperson Christine Atieno.
Speaking to the Star on Monday at the Kisumu County Hospital, Ruth said she is confident she will beat Ranguma in the ODM nominations.
“I will not be intimidated. I’m in the race for governor. As far as I am concerned, I’m the only woman in ODM running for the position. My opponents should be ready,” she said.
In 2013, Ruth was prevailed upon to drop her bid and become Ranguma’s running mate after acrimonious ODM nominations.
She said she will not be intimidated by violence and vote buying perpetrated by some men aspirants. Sources say she is riding on Raila’s name, but Ruth says she is her own person.
Political analyst Jared Okello said being Raila’s sister will not influence her election and cited 2013, when she stepped aside for Ranguma. Okello said Raila will endorse anybody for the race to ensure free and fair nominations.
He said the Cord chief wants to focus more on his presidential bid and not the backlash that comes with bungled nominations.
Lawyer Richard Onsongo said being Raila’s key allies will not influence Nyong’o’s or Ranguma’s election.
He said all aspirants will have to sell their policies to the voters. “Voters will make decisions based on which candidate’s agenda addresses their problems, not who is closest to Raila,” Onsongo said.
He said being Raila’s sister may complicate Ruth’s candidature because critics may say leadership in Nyanza is not the preserve of the Odinga family.
Kisumu Deputy Governor Ruth Odinga in Seme on July 3. Siaya Senator James Orengo at the KICC