Raila has no control over nominations
James Orengo has become the latest entrant in the race for governor in 2017. The Siaya senator has decided to throw his hat in the ring and try his luck at becoming the second governor of Siaya.
Inside ODM, the senator is no ordinary mortal. He is a close ally of party leader Raila Odinga. Orengo was Raila’s legal adviser during the 2008 Serena negotiations in the aftermath of the PEV crisis. Even during the recent parliamentary select committee talks on IEBC, Orengo was the leader of the Cord negotiating team. This makes him no ordinary person in the party hierarchy now that he has declared his interest in the governor’s job. Besides Orengo, there is also Senator Anyang’ Nyong’o, who is eyeing the Kisumu position along Ruth Odinga, Raila’s younger sister.
There are concerns that due to the closeness of these politicians to Raila, the party has a huge dilemma during the primaries. First, let me remind all that Raila, even as party leader, has neither control over people’s aspirations nor the party’s nomination.
Orengo, Nyong’o or Ruth have their inalienable right to seek any leadership position in this country, their supposed closeness to Raila notwithstanding.
Even as party leader, Raila’s position is up for grabs. It happened in 2014, when Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati campaigned against him.
Mzee had no problem and was ready to take him head-on. Who knows what would have happened had the elections been held? In the ongoing case, Raila is lucky that Orengo, Ruth and Nyong’o are not seeking to contest for his position.
And because Raila has no control over their aspirations, he cannot dictate who should contest which position in the party.
The three are in politics in their own right. They know what is good for them and they are going for it. And because they are not going for Raila’s position, there is no contradiction, and that cannot alarm him.
As a party, we are determined to have free and fair nominations that will help us deliver the 2017 election. Anybody expecting a ‘good eye’ from Mzee must know it will not work this time around. This time it will not work. Our task in 2017 is to deliver the Presidential vote, and we are focused on it like never before.
Nominations have been our poisoned chalice in the past. Never again.
Buke is Director, Political Affairs & Strategy, ODM