Inside Politics

Odingas: Dynasty to field six aspirants

Tuesday, March 1st, 2022 04:50 | By
Raila Odinga and his elder brother Oburu Odinga at a past event. PHOTO/COURTESY

In a feat only comparable to some of the world’s most famous political families like the Kennedys or the Bushes in the US, the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga family is poised to dominate politics in the Nyanza region during this election season.

At least six members of the late Jaramogi’s family have thrown their hats in the 2022 election ring, led by ODM leader Raila Odinga who has already been endorsed by among others President Uhuru Kenyatta to run for the presidency on the Azimio la Umoja movement ticket.

Raila’s elder brother Dr Oburu Oginga will also contest for the Siaya Senate seat. Already, Oburu has received immense support from a host of the county leaders, among them Governor Cornel Rasanga, Senator James Orengo and MPs Otiende Amollo (Rarieda), Sam Atandi (Alego Usonga) and Elisha Odhiambo of Gem.

Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, Ugunja and Siaya Woman Representative Christine Ombaka have also thrown their weight behind Oburu and Orengo, who is gunning for the Siaya governorship.

Already, the leaders have decided to campaign as a team and to lockout “intruders”.

Earlier, Rasanga, who is related to the Odingas, wanted to contest the Senate seat only to be prevailed upon to drop his bid and back Oburu.

Oburu’s son, Jaoko, who had earlier indicated he would run for the Langata parliamentary seat in Nairobi, currently held by Jubilee’s Nixon Korir, has since dropped the bid, with sources claiming he had been prevailed upon to do so.

His brother Elijah Oburu, is however still keen on contesting the Kisumu Central parliamentary seat currently held by former MCA, Fred Ouda.

“I am keen on unseating Ouda. We need a generational change and time is now,” Elijah told People Daily yesterday.

Elijah, an Indian trained political scientist, will battle it out for the seat with Ouda and Kisumu businessman Dr Joshua Oron.

Sources close to the family said Jaoko had been prevailed to drop his bid for the Langata parliamentary seat in favour of Elijah following concerns that it would be too expensive for the two siblings to both seek elective seats at the same time.

Campaigning for Elijah in Kisumu town last month, Jaoko told crowds that he had pulled out of the Langata parliamentary race to campaign for his brother.

“I am not running in Langata, I will instead campaign for Elijah to clinch the Kisumu Central seat,” he told the gathering.

And in what sets the stage for serious family rivalry, another brother of Raila and Dr Oburu, Omondi Odinga is locked in a battle for the Milimani market ward civic seat with the latter’s son in law, George Abwajo.

Ómondi, previously viewed as the Odinga family’s prodigal son after he flirted with the Uhuruto alliance in the run-up to the 2017 General Election, has since mended ways with his brothers Raila and Dr Oburu, and been accepted back to the fold.

Milimani Market Ward

This time around, interestingly, he is going for Milimani market ward, he once represented, but in ODM.

Interestingly, the ward falls within Kisumu Central constituency, which Elijah is seeking to represent and it will be interesting to see who between his uncle and his brother in law he (Elijah) will back in the race for the civic seat.

But sources reveal the issue is already generating debate, with some feeling Abwajo should exit the race in favour of Omondi.

But another group argues that it is Omondi who should quit the race in favour of Abwajo since Elijah is going for the parliamentary seat. Omondi yesterday ruled out the possibility of dropping out of the race, insisting that he had a right to seek elective positions.

“I am running for the Milimani Market ward seat come what may, it is everyone for himself and God for us all,” he stated.

Yesterday, Raila’s sister, Ruth Odinga, who has also thrown her hat in the battle for the Kisumu Women Representative’s seat, defended the Odingas from claims that they were “too domineering.”

Ruth, who served as Kisumu deputy governor during the Jack Ranguma era, said members of the Odinga clan, just like any other Kenyan, had a constitutional right to seek elective offices.

“Let no one see it from the lens of a societal nomenclature that I am running as a daughter Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, No. I merit,’’ she said.

She went on: ‘’There are times when your family doesn’t support you in your decisions, and that is when you need to stand for yourself.’’ She was supported by a University don, Caren Akech who said it is only the voters who would decide their leaders.

 “She has a right to vie, it is only the voters who hold the sovereign power to decide,” she said.

 “Let everyone be allowed to freely exercise their democratic right. Let’s not stifle their rights,” she said

Ruth declared nothing or no amount of intimidation from her rivals would hold back her resolve to gun for the seat.

There have been murmurs of discontent from some quarters in Raila’s Nyanza backyard that the entry of some of the Odinga family members into elective politics may work against the former’s presidential bid.

Dr Oburu, for instance, has come under criticism for using Raila’s name to pursue his political ambitions. With an unprecedented six family members firmly in the race for various seats, the Odinga clan joins the league of other prominent families that have dominated politics for decades.

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