Navigating The Complexities Of Succession Politics In The Larger Odinga Family

The Weekly Vision Reporter

The larger Odinga family is reportedly faced with internal discord regarding the politics of succession and how to tackle Bondo MP Gideon Ochanda in the next elections after the MP switched camps from the ODM party to the UDA. The MP is now working closely with President William Ruto and his Kenya Kwanza administration. Mr Ochanda was one of the few Luo MPs who failed to receive a direct ODM party ticket nomination certificate for the last general election. 

According to reports, 81-year-old Siaya Senator Dr Oburu Odinga is expected to retire from politics after his parliamentary term comes to an end in 2027. His preferred choice for the same seat is his son, Jaoko Oburu. Dr Oburu wants his son to be in politics to protect his family’s interests after his departure. To prepare his son for bigger things in the coming days, Dr. Oburu successfully persuaded former Siaya Governor Amoth Rasanga to include Jaoko in his cabinet, where he served for two five-year terms. 

After the 2022 elections, Siaya Governor James Orengo retained Jaoko in his cabinet; he appointed him as the Partnerships and Resource Mobilization Coordinator, a position he retains to this day. Dr. Oburu argues that his son, having accumulated 15 years of experience at the executive level, is ready to assume the responsibilities of a Senator in Siaya County or as Bondo MP. 

However, it has been revealed that ODM leader Raila Odinga holds a dissenting view from that of his elder brother, according to well-informed sources. If he manages to clinch the African Union chairmanship, he desires to see either Winnie Odinga or Raila Jr. serving as Bondo MP. Just like Oburu, Raila intends to secure the continuation of his political influence by promoting one of his kids as MP for Bondo.

Raila Odinga is also entertaining the idea of fielding Winnie Odinga as a candidate against Langata MP Felix Jalango or even in Kibra. It is noteworthy that Jalango, like Ochanda, is also working closely with President Ruto. If the Langata or Kibra proposal becomes difficult to pursue, the alternative is to shift focus to Bondo and run against Ochanda. Consequently, Winnie Odinga will have to step down from her current role in the East African Legislative Assembly to contest for the Bondo seat. 

Analysts say that with his father’s support, he can be mentored to take over from the rebellious Ochanda. Raila Jr. currently holds the position of director at East Africa Spectre, a company owned by the family.  In another scenario, should the Odinga family arrive at a mutual understanding that none of their children should go for the Bondo MP seat, amidst this arrangement, Joe Ager has emerged as a preferred candidate; he is a close ally to the Odingas.

After his handshake with former President Uhuru Kenyatta, Raila Odinga secured the chairmanship of Mining Corporation for Mr Ager. He served in this capacity until December 8, 2023, when President William Ruto nullified his appointment and replaced him with Joseph Lagat. Mr. Ager’s planned candidacy has been widely criticized due to his perceived lack of political acumen and financial resources needed to run a successful campaign. If Raila continues to support him, it is believed that Ochanda will secure the seat effortlessly.