Kenya's liberation pegged on Raila presidency: Orengo

Sunday December 22 2019

ODM leader Raila Odinga and Siaya Senator James

ODM leader Raila Odinga and Siaya Senator James Orengo are pictured at Awelo village in Siaya County on December 21, 2019, during the burial of his in-law Fredrick Omondi. PHOTO | ONDARI OGEGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

By Daily Nation

Siaya Senator James Orengo on Saturday rekindled debate on ODM leader Raila Odinga running for President in 2022, saying the dream to have him sworn in as Kenya's leader remains.

Speaking during the burial of Mr Fredrick Omondi at Awelo village in Siaya County, the senator said the hope in the Orange Democratic Movement is that Mr Odinga will lead the country to the promised land.

This quest that has flopped repeatedly, with Mr Odinga and his supporters alleging election rigging.

"This country wants to see Mr Odinga lead it to Canaan through the BBI," Mr Orengo said, adding Kenyans want to see Mr Odinga take the oath of office as he did in 2018.

Mr Orengo, who is also the Senate minority leader, noted that it won't be a mock swearing in this time round.

LIBERATION

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Mr Odinga swore himself as the 'people's president' after the repeat presidential election on October 26, which his team in the National Super Alliance (Nasa) boycotted.

The other leaders in the coalition are Musalia Mudavadi (Amani National Congress), Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang'ula (Ford Kenya) and Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper).

In March 2018, however, Mr Odinga shocked the nation when he announced outside Harambee House in Nairobi that he and his arch-rival, President Uhuru Kenyatta, had decided to work together. This deal, dubbed the handshake, resulted in the Building Bridges Initiative.

Mr Odinga has in the past denied claims by a section of leaders, most of them allies of Deputy President William Ruto, that he is using the BBI to prepare the way for his next step come 2022.

He has also denied, on several occasions, claims that he is keen on facing off with DP Ruto, who intends to take over when President Kenyatta finishes his second term, which he once said will be his last.

Mr Orengo insisted that it is only through Mr Odinga's leadership that Kenyans will attain the political liberation they have been yearning for.

RAILA'S SUPPORT

Former Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo, who is Mr Odinga's cousin, kicked off the political debate at the funeral by telling off people who have asked Mr Odinga to retire from active politics.

Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi echoed his sentiments, saying they will mobilise all elected leaders from the region, including those who decamped from ODM after sham party primaries in 2017. to ensure Mr Odinga's support base remains intact.

"Our support for Mr Odinga will remain unchallenged. We have no apologies to make for deciding to follow him" he said.

BBI

In his address, however, Mr Odinga steered clear of the presidency discussion and focused on the BBI, which he said is strictly meant to address the woes Kenyans have faced since independence in 1963.

The ODM leader said he and President Kenyatta desire to lead the country to the path the founding fathers dreamt of - one that entails working together.

He reiterated that recommendations in the BBI report will be taken back to the people and ratified through a referendum.

"The BBI is seeking to unite the country. The document will be brought back to you for endorsement," he said.

JOB CREATION

Mr Odinga further noted the need to exploit the country's rich but underutilised blue economy to create jobs.

"That's why we are focusing on rehabilitating the port of Mombasa and upgrading ports in Lake Victoria so as to import and export goods across East Africa, " he said

He said that the proposed special economic zone will benefit greatly from upgraded port services, which will see big ships bring goods from the region.

"Most people are yet to fully understand the importance of investing in the blue economy. It has the potential to turn around the economic fortune of this nation and the region," he said.

COUNTY FUNDS

Earlier Senator Orengo challenged governors from Nyanza to ensure money allocated to counties in the region is prudently used for development.

While terming Mr Odinga the father of devolution, he said it would be a disgrace for county leaders to misuse money meant to benefit the people.

"We have been given the responsibility to manage resources allocated by the national government. We must ensure devolution has an impact. Let us see what devolution has achieved for the people of Nyanza."