Inside Politics

Raila endorses Joho, Oparanya to lead ODM if he gets AU job

Thursday, March 7th, 2024 17:37 | By
ODM Leader Raila Odinga
ODM Leader Raila Odinga. PHOTO/@RailaOdinga/X

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga has endorsed former governors Ali Hassan Joho (Mombasa) and Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega) to lead the opposition party in case he clinches the African Union Commission chairmanship.

Speaking on Thursday, March 7, 2024, Raila said that his exit from local politics should not kill the opposition party, which has existed for nearly 20 years.

"I'm here with Governors (Wycliffe) Oparanya and Ali Hassan Joho. They will come together (to lead ODM). A party with a strong foundation cannot crumble just because one person has left. I am confident that these (two) will continue driving the party agenda even though I'll be in Addis Ababa. If they want advice, I am ready. ODM will remain intact," Raila stated.

This comes two weeks after Ida Odinga, Raila's wife, endorsed John Mbadi to take over in case the opposition supremo left local politics.

Speaking in February, Ida said that Raila has trained a lot of lieutenants in local politics who could take over from him if he gets the AU job.

Terming Mbadi as Raila's heartbeat, Ida said that the politician does not need more training from Raila, who is now eying the AU job.

“Nothing is lost so far. He (Raila Odinga)’s a Kenyan. And he’s not the first Kenyan to seek employment from abroad. He says he’s organized great ladies and gentlemen who can stand firm (here in Kenya) in his absence. Am I lying Mbadi (John)? Raila has been training you for many years…. Do you still need more training?” Ida posed.

“That’s Baba’s heartbeat,” Ida added amidst hearty cheers from the crowd.

In response, Mbadi said Raila's bid for the AU job could benefit Kenya, terming the job as important not only for the opposition chief but also for the country.

“There should be no issue if Raila Amolo Odinga goes to head the African Union Commission. We know what he wants and the importance of the job, We might greatly benefit from his position as the AU leader,” Mbadi said.

Oburu on Raila successor

In August 2023, the opposition leader's elder brother Oburu Odinga seemed to endorse Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi as the next Luo Political Kingpin.

Oburu claimed that Wandayi is a brilliant politician who had learnt his political skills in the footsteps of Raila.

“Wandayi has proved to be a political master who knows the body language of Raila very well and always acts in his interests with precision and awe,’’ Oburu said in August 2023.

Oburu would later deny endorsing Wandayi, saying he has no powers to anoint ODM leader’s successor as Nyanza region’s kingpin.

He said that he has not picked any politician to take over from his younger brother as the next Luo or opposition leader.

“There is no political vacuum as yet to be filled by anyone. Raila is still firmly on the steering wheel and is doing well,’’ Oburu said.

Raila bids for AU job

Recently, the opposition chief announced that he would contest for the AUC chairmanship job, following the imminent exit of Moussa Faki, the incumbent.

Speaking in Nairobi on February 15, 2024, he stated that he decided to go for the post after consulting widely among friends.

"The general Olusegun Obasanjo has said he is one of my closest friends in the continent and has intimated that should there be an interest I will be keen to serve the continent of Africa," he stated.

He also announced that he was ready to offer himself to be of service to the content whenever called upon.

“I am ready and offer myself to be of service to this African content when called upon. I believe that Africa is playing in a league that it should not play in and that it deserves better," he added.

The former prime minister also explained that he was the best candidate for the job because of his previous experience.

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