Ruth Odinga under fire for claiming no one can fill Raila’s shoes in Nyanza
Kisumu MP Ruth Odinga’s comment that no one from the Lake Region can fill the shoes of ODM leader Raila Odinga has ruffled feathers among politicians in South Nyanza who have accused the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga family of trying to dominate politics in the Lake Region.
The politicians accused the lawmaker of being reckless in trying to create a campaign mood in the country just a year after the 2022 elections and using it to influence the outcome of the next polls, especially at the grassroots level.
Ms Odinga said she is not convinced yet that there is a politician who can succeed his brother as the Luo kingpin.
This follows calls by some politicians who have asked the opposition leader to retire from politics and let another person succeed him.
Among people being fronted to take over from the former prime minister include Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi.
But Ms Odinga argued that no one is ready yet to be a presidential candidate from Nyanza, except for his 78-year-old brother.
A group of Nyanza politicians allied to United Democratic Alliance (UDA) said the statement by the woman rep is an attempt by the Odinga family to continue deciding who should be leaders in the four Lake region counties (Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay, and Migori) where the majority of leaders are from ODM.
According to South Nyanza UDA coordinator Kennedy Ondiek, it is wrong to say that no one from Nyanza can be president besides Mr Odinga.
“Her statement implied that people from Nyanza who are aspiring to be president in the next election should suspend their quest and let Raila take the lead. We are telling her that this region has people who are educated and are ready to lead the country as head of state,” he said.
Mr Odinga has vied for the presidency five times and lost to different candidates.
It is not clear if he will be on the ballot in the next election but the statement from his sister Ruth shows that he is likely to feature in the ballot box in 2027.
Mr. Ondiek argued that the Odinga family has been riding on the same concept to dominate politics in the region and decide the grassroots leaders since ODM allegedly fails to conduct credible nominations.
He argued that most people are tired of listening to the voices of the same family for many years.
“We have lifted the family to a level where multiple members are representatives at different Houses. It is now time that they let other people lead,” Mr Ondiek said.
Besides national politics, Mr Odinga has been using his influence to decide who should be elected.
He normally does this by calling on voters to cast ballots for candidates from his ODM party.
Mr Ondiek said this act blocks most people with good leadership skills from contesting and winning political seats.
“They have not provided opportunities for upcoming leaders to contest and win because they always decide who should lead,” he said.
UDA coordinator in Suba North constituency Bruce Ogweno said that the statement by Ms. Odinga is likely to have an impact in future campaigns when it is used by other politicians as a campaign tool against aspiring leaders from the lake region.
“During campaigns, an aspirant from the lake region may be told of how they should not lead because of statements made by the Odinga family who insist that the only presidential candidate should be Raila,” Mr Ogweno said.
He argued that there are many people who are rising to take over leadership and it is wrong for the legislator to say that no one can be president from Nyanza apart from Mr Odinga.
The two UDA officials used the opportunity to welcome more people to join their party saying it has opened doors and opportunities for all Kenyans.