LUO ELDERS ‘IDENTIFY SUCCESSOR FOR RAILA’
THE Luo community yesterday announced that it had identified a person they hope will succeed opposition leader Raila Odinga.
Luo Council of Elders chairman Willis Otondi said they have already identified a “shrewd leader capable of fitting in Raila’s shoes”.
“We have already reached consensus on a politician who we deem able to take up the leadership of the Luo community after Raila,” Otondi said.
This came as Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero said that his presidential ambition was unstoppable, despite opposition from some politicians from Nyanza.
Kidero said his bid for the presidency is irreversible as he has “what it takes to lead Kenya”, using the opportunity to defend his many harambees in the region.
“The harambees we are doing are aimed at boosting development. Those questioning where some of us get money should keep theirs in their pockets,” Kidero said.
Otondi is known to be close to Raila and has been leading a faction of the Luo Council of Elders while Riaga Ogalo leads another faction that now backs Kidero for President.
There have been calls by some ODM leaders for Raila to allow other people to contest the Presidency in 2017 and others have asked that the former Prime Minister quit active politics altogether.
Raila has unsuccessfully contested the presidency three times, two of them consecutively, and is currently grappling with intense wrangling in his party.
Speaking during a morning talk show on Nam Lolwe FM, Otondi said the elders are already mentoring the man “who we will name at the opportune time”.
“We have narrowed down to an individual and have asked him to remain humble. We have requested him not to exalt himself until the time comes to declare him our leader,” he added.
He, however, pointed out that the decision does not mean they are undermining Raila.
“We have a fallback plan, but, currently, we have an able leadership provided by Raila Odinga,” he said.
Otondi moved to defend Kidero over his fundraisers in the Nyanza region.
“Let us allow Kidero to conduct harambees for the benefit of our community,” he said.
Kidero, who was speaking in Kitutu Chache South, said that the Kisii and Luo communities will unite ahead of the 2017 general election.
“We are neighbours who have been living peacefully for many years. We need the same to be maintained,” he said.
Area MP Richard Onyonka, Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi and Borabu MP Ben Momanyi said they will help Kidero capture the top seat.
“Kidero’s dream to run for President is legitimate. I am assuring him of my support. I have no idea why some leaders are opposing him,” Maangi said.
He said Kidero’s ambition should not be taken for granted as Kenyans will decide who to elect when the right time comes.
Momanyi said those against Kidero visiting the Nyanza region are only confirming his popularity.
“I urge Kidero to continue in the same spirit,” he said.
Momanyi said Kidero is free, like any other Kenyan or leader, to visit every part of this country.
Onyonka said Raila should step aside for the younger generation to take over because he has failed to become President three times.
“The current ODM leadership must agree that there is a crop of young leaders who can steer the party forward,” he said.
At the same time, Ugenya MP Dave Ochieng has expressed fears that the looming division among leaders from the Nyanza region might cost Cord leader Raila any more presidential bids in the future.
Ochieng said the perceived ideological divisions in the region among elected leaders are painting a bad picture, arguing that it will make Raila lose the unwavering support he receives from other regions.
“If a Luo not does win the forthcoming elections, it will take the community not less than 100 years to ascend to power”, the lawmaker warned.