Raila has no con­trol over nom­i­na­tions

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties - WA­FULA BUKE

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

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