Raila Odinga rubbishes reports of rift with Senator James Orengo


Raila Odinga rubbishes reports of rift with Senator James Orengo
ODM party leader Raila Odinga and Siaya Senator James Orengos. PHOTOS | COURTESY

In Summary

  • Addressing the press on Monday after meeting a section of Kalenjin leaders, the opposition chief rubbished the talks saying the lawmaker remains in his good books and a vital member of the party.
  • Reports of an alleged rift between the two leaders were published by a local daily on December 11, 2018 ahead of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit to the Nyanza region.
  • According to the paper, the Senate Minority Leader was angered by his party leader’s decision to leave him out of the handshake talks with President Kenyatta.

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga has downplayed reports of alleged differences between himself and Siaya County Senator James Orengo.

Addressing the press on Monday after meeting a section of Kalenjin leaders, the opposition chief rubbished the talks saying the lawmaker remains in his good books and a vital member of the party.

While responding to a journalist who asked, “Are there problems between you and Orengo?” Raila said “What do you mean? What problems? Orengo was campaigning for ODM; Orengo is a very loyal member of ODM. There’s nothing, only positive issues about Hon. James Orengo.”

On March 31, 2019 a local daily reported that Mr. Odinga was not happy with Orengo over his utterances that there is a 2022 pre-election agreement between President Kenyatta and the opposition leader.

Earlier, reports of an alleged rift between the two leaders were published by the same local daily on December 11, 2018 ahead of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit to the Nyanza region.

According to the paper, the Senate Minority Leader was angered by his party leader’s decision to leave him out of the handshake talks with President Kenyatta despite being viewed by many as his closest ally and legal advisor.

Orengo, ahead of the then anticipated visit, allegedly demanded that the Head of State compensates the region’s victims of the 2017 post-election violence that rocked the nation.

These remarks were, however, reportedly viewed by a section of ODM legislators as an attempt to scuttle the handshake between Mr. Odinga and the President.

Political pundits further opined that Orengo was planning to take control of Nyanza politics and dethrone Mr. Odinga as the Luo kingpin.

These, the publication added, created a rift between Orengo and Raila, further fueling disunity between the ODM party.

However, in his Monday address following the party’s loss in the Embakasi South and Ugenya by-elections, Raila sought to assure his followers that the party was still intact.

“There are no issues at all in ODM; there are no differences in our party. The two by-elections are really like a drop of water in the ocean. ODM remains a very strong and united party,” said Raila.

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