, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 7 – The Orange Democratic Movement party leader Raila Odinga has given elders three days to decide whether he should contest in the upcoming Homa Bay senatorial by-election.
According to party Chairman John Mbadi, a meeting to determine Odinga’s fate will be held on Thursday next week at Homa Bay town attended by the elders, Odinga and ODM branch party officials.
Although a section of ODM legislators led by Nominated Senator Elizabeth Ongoro were opposed to the idea of Odinga contesting in the senatorial race, it is slowly emerging that the former PM may be considering contesting the seat whose by-election is set for February 2, 2015.
Ongoro insisted that Odinga had fought for years to clinch the highest seat on the land and that remained the focus, come 2017.
“He has not been in this struggle simply to occupy a political space or office, he is a national leader… actually a regional leader of great repute and it would be demeaning and it would not be helping in our ultimate objective of seeing him occupy the highest office as the CEO of this country. We don’t want to tie him down to one small county in the position of a Senator,” said Ongoro.
Political pundits seem to agree with Ongoro’s sentiments as Tom Namwamba says the move could be detrimental to Odinga’s political career as he will be seen as a power hungry individual who cannot influence power from outside.
“Raila is too senior to think of going for this seat,” he said
Namwamba points out that if the elders approve Odinga to run for the election, the decision may not augur well with the people of South Nyanza who will feel that they do not have a leader of their own to inherit the position of fallen Senator Otieno Kajwang’ who was celebrated for his loyalty, and passion for politics.
“It can turn into a political abuse for the people who perceive that politics can be done with or without being in Parliament,” he added.
He further posed that even if Odinga made it to the Senate, whatever decision he would be seeking to pass through the Senate would encounter lot of Opposition from the Jubilee Senators who are the majority in the Upper House.
“I believe that what Raila can do at the moment is concentrate on restructuring ODM; create structures and systems that are operational, be the watchdog of the people outside and keep himself active in discussing the political discourse in the country as he prepares for 2017. That way his hands are not tied as a Senator,” said Namwamba.
Odinga left his fate to the elders after a meeting held at his rural home in Opoda farm, attended by amongst others ODM chairman Mbadi, Homa Bay Woman representative Gladys Wanga and other ODM lawmakers.