Orengo and Oburu battle it out for senate seat

This is a battle that I think James Orengo will win hands down unless something drastically changes on the ground. I have talked to many people who say that Orengo is the real deal in Siaya. While I don’t know exactly what Orengo has done for the people of Ugenya, I do believe that he has better credentials than the lackluster Oburu Odinga  who has done very little for Bondo. I would be more than surprised if Oburu won the ODM nominations.  I also hope that these nominations will be fair and transparent as to allow the voters to truly decide.


Lands minister James Orengo and Finance assistant minister Oburu Oginga have declared an all-out war as they seek the ODM ticket for the Siaya Senate seat.

Mr Orengo at the weekend, hosted over 600 ODM delegates from the county at his Ugenya home while Dr Oginga held a public rally in Siaya Town to canvass for votes ahead of the ODM nominations.

While Dr Oginga said he was not a stooge of Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Mr Orengo said his credentials as a lawmaker would position him as the ideal Senator for the region.

“Just because my brother is gunning for the presidency does not mean that I cannot even become a village elder. My Senate bid has nothing to do with the presidency,” Dr Oginga said.

But Mr Orengo said that his Senate bid was not meant to oppose the PM, adding that his reform credentials would give him an advantage over his opponent. (READ: Orengo’s strategy in senate seat fight)

Mr Orengo said: “The coming elections are about the implementation of the Constitution and the electorate already understands this. It would be unfair to drag the name of the Prime Minister into campaign trails.”

Dr Oginga claimed that he had sought a pre-election pact with Mr Orengo but it did not work out. “The conditions given by my opponents were too stringent,” said Dr Oginga without elaborating on any of them.

15 comments on “Orengo and Oburu battle it out for senate seat

  1. The ODM National Elections Board has extended the deadline for the return of application forms from today 10th Dec to 20th Dec 2012.

    One interesting submission today was that of Dr. Oburu Odinga who has submitted his forms expressing an interest being elected SIAYA COUNTY GOVERNOR on ODM ticket and thus avoided a potential senatorial clash with James Orengo.


    • Clever man Oburu is, Orengo would have beaten him so badly. But Im still very unsure if the old man should be a governor. I have a feeling that he might be defeated here too. Why not just retire?


    • Oburu to be our governor? Hell No. Who else has submitted papers? I am going to have to get on the gorund with this mara once. I will give you folks the update.


  2. As an intrested party being that im ugenya damu i think Daktari should retire and leave Orengo to battle it out with other young aspirants ,obviously Orengo is an asset to kenya because of his understanding of the law and debating skills ,it will be very difficult to envision a senate without Jim .He may have failed us as an MP at the local level but on the national platform he did us all proud i also think the role of senetor suits him just fine becauese if you look at the roles of a senator it does not neccesarily engage in the day to day running of the county.I dont remember seeing Oburu saying anything substancial on the floor of parliament besides when responding to questions that are directed to the MOF in his absence,so my vote is for Jim unless their is a young savvy proffesional who can convince me otherwise.


  3. One only needs to look at the role of the senate as specified in the constitution to see who the underdog is in the Siaya County race. By all means let Oburu compete, but I can predict he will be beaten hands down in a free and fair nomination process .

    Siaya County itself is a strategic county in considering the number of registered voters and also its economic potential. It will be important to get both a senator and a governor that has proven public service credentials in those respective areas.


    • The greatest task ODM faces right now is conducting a FREE, FAIR, and TRANSPARENT nomination process. More critical is how these nominations turn out in party strongholds like Nyanza.

      If ODM thinks they can get away with business as usual – handing nomination certificates to predetermined candidates – it will essentially be over.

      Raila Odinga must read the riot act to his family members who seem too selfishly inclined to throw their weight around the party’s corridors. Nevertheless they should be allowed to fully exercise their democratic rights to run and likely loose.


      • job

        I had an opportunity to talk to some of the ODM serious folks who do the real work forget the noisemakers and it was a long meeting. It was a frank and honest discussion and I learnt a lot of things we don’t hear about. One of the key issues we discussed was the disastrous ODM nominations. The team I met with were just as fed up and mad about the nightmare with nominations.

        I told them myself and Miguna tried to help ODM fix that problem in 2007. They agreed with our proposals and then went ahead and screwed up the whole thing. It damn near brought the party to its knees. They had to fix it after and they got away with it because the mess was all over other parties as well.

        Here are some of the problems.

        1. Direct certificates fiasco. It all started with the pentagon chaps who claimed they were too busy to participate in the primaries then it went viral and we all know what happened. There should simply be no direct certificates to anybody period. The folks told me they have tried to get that straight to the leadership. Hopefully it is getting through now.

        2. Then we have others who are fronted by specific “heavy weights”. That road too has to be closed.

        3. I raised the issue of party leadership at the Orange House which they have now and how they have absolutely no credibility as far as nominations are concerned. I told them even if those same leaders were to conduct the most fair nomination nobody will believe it. They have to go. The folks agreed but told me there is a lot of resistance. We all agreed that a new credible team must be put in place to take over all primary elections and that team has to be completely independent and not controlled by party leaders etc. It seems they took the matter seriously because I saw they have a new ODM election body which looks very credible but we have to wait and see how they are doing their business and give them feedback.

        4. Election supervision is another issue. Right now there is no mechanism to do it. You need discipline and leadership to do that. You also need state resources like law enforcement to handle rowdy mobs. That has to be worked out without inviting police being used to do their usual terrorising of people. Also the issue of election officials. IEBC is just too expensive for parties to pay to help them do their own nominations. What is the alternative that can be credible and affordable financially and politically? No political party has figured that out yet. ODM has to figure out theirs and there is very little time left.

        5. Party top leaders showing no bias and no favouritism is another issue. Raila as the party leader has to simply stay away from the primaries. I tell the case of Bondo where I met with one of the candidates, a very smart guy who has built and amazing fully functioning hospital, complete with a maternity wing in Matangwe area which is the talk of Bondo. People like him and respect him and when he invited me to visit him in his home I found out why. He is straight foward and wants to hear what people are saying. I took my crowd to meet him and they had a lot of questions for him. He patiently answered them.

        Then in the same Bondo we have another candidate, a former headmaster who lives in Bondo town right next to where I live. He is a good guy too but here is the problem. This guy is Oburu’s chosen heir apparent. He behaves as if he is already the ODM candidate. People around him, many of them councillors in Bondo also behave as if he is indeed already the candidate. Now why would the Matangwe guy even bother with putting his name in the hat when this other guy looks like a shoe-in.

        And here is the real nightmare. Under the new party laws if you run for any party ticket and lose, you are going home. You cannot run for a party ticket. lose and then hop to another party or even ran as an independent. Those running as independents must be members of no political party at all. That is a quagmire that all these jokers running from party to party are going to come face to face with. I see some people over excited about folks like Rachel Shabesh going to this or that party. Well you win the nomination for that party or go home. The party hopping nonsense is just to get M.ps some money until January. In fact by October 18, 2012, which is next week anybody willing to run for office better be members of the party they will run for or gamble with running as an independent where you are on your own. People are going to think hard and long before committing to any area.

        So my buddy in Matangwe is very likely to opt to go as an independent and will only jump into the ODM ticket if he feels confident that the primary will be fair. Of course he is not an idiot so he knows getting an ODM ticket has its benefits. BUt one thing we can say is that in this election cycle, there will be very many independenst and depending on how sickening the parties become if they recycle their usual friends, independents may win very many seats.

        My point is that free and fair nomination at the primary level is going to be a life and death matter for political parties.

        On the Oburu, Orengo battle in Bondo at least I have the privilege of being from Bondo and I have enough credibility with folks down there to make jokes about Oburu’s slim to zero chances against Orengo. Every time this Oburu/Orengo came up we just laughed it as a practical joke gone too far. Oburu has no chance. Of course a completely different person who come up. Who knows. But Oburu has done OK in Bondo contrary to what people think. His first term was a mess then he cleaned his act and Bondo is very dynamic these days. But we just want Oburu to go rest and run his business. That is a fair deal.


        • Thanks for the feedback – I’m glad you spoke to the ODM technocrats. I will not pass verdict on the new ODM election board till they oversee the nomination process. We must first see results. What awaits that board is a humongous task. That electoral board must assert independence right now…otherwise they’ll just be wasting everyone’s time.

          This is a board that must not bow down to whims of the so called “party heavy-weights”. That’s where gross confusion begins. By now, they should have already fired memos warning the top honchos against meddling in the nomination process. I agree that the phenomenon of direct nominations MUST END. ODM must not even imagine trying this retrogressive practice which is catching steam in TNA. Internal party democracy must be given a chance. That is the only way a couple of my friends – very capable and committed public workhorses – can get a shot as they gear for the ODM primary nominations.

          The other issue we discussed thoroughly has to do with security – or INSECURITY depending on how you view it. This matter comes in two facets; one internal, another external. It ain’t a secret that some UNPOPULAR ODM politicians see violence as their ONLY strategy to win nominations. Once they read the mood on the ground and see no realistic chance for themselves…they typically resort to their usual game-plan… preying on unemployed youth – offering them a couple of thousands (Kshs) and copious amounts of booze…with specific instructions to scuttle the voting.

          Orchestrated violence and wielding of crude weapons automatically sends back most peaceful voters home (especially women and the elderly). In the ensuing confusion, returning officers are bamboozled into making premature calls based on which candidate hired more goons. How does ODM intend to address this phenomenon which is definitely coming soon to many electoral precincts? (By the way, this is not an affliction affecting only ODM – it is indeed a Kenyan phenomenon.)

          Then comes the external violence…injected by state operatives…and political competitors. You won’t be surprised seeing externally hired goons in DESTROYER T-shirts pulling catapults within ODM nomination processes. The PM has even placed his finger on a bigger problem. Generalized upsurge in violence, whether in Tana River or Kilifi is beginning to take a discernible geo-political pattern.

          The state can actually suppress voter registration through escalation of violence in select localities. People tend to keep off political matters whenever there’s gross insecurity. Peaceful areas tend to record the highest numbers of registered voters. That’s not rocket science. I’m glad the PM has started raising the latter pattern in public. Even before the BVM machines have landed, it appears that voter suppression efforts are already underway in select areas. This matter should be addressed more forcefully – in Bunge, at the grassroots, and even with the international community.

          For ODM to have any credibility discussing vote-related insecurity, the party must draw a line and avoid any internally instigated violence during their own primaries. All candidates should take an oath against violence; facing total disbarment should they violate.

          Coming to the Oburu – Orengo tussle, I’ll frankly wish even more candidates throw their hats in the ring to duke it out with the duo. There should be no entitlement from any quarter; whether through family or crony. I also suspect Oburu will lose badly. I just hope Oburu has no dirty ideas about how to get the nomination certificate…because that will directly impact on his brother’s presidential run. We are watching, ready to pounce!


        • Update:

          My ground crew told me today that Orengo had a massive rally in Bondo town. It was a show stopper and the man was recieved by the masses who were very happy to have him. This of course is right in Oburu’s backyard literally at his door step because Uburu lives at Opoda Farm too where he built his home next to Raila. Of course that is a farting distance from my own joint down there. They can here me if I do a big one. Bondo is also the commercial capital of Siaya county and the largest urban centre in the neighbourhood.

          One of these days when I figure out how to start threads, edit them and put pictures on this board I will do my long awaited Bondo story to look at the socio economic dynamics of rural Kenya and how that fits in the big picture of the country’s much talked about economic development or lack thereof as well as address the myth of Luo folks drowning in poverty as Raila rolls in cash and opulance. That is for another day.

          A couple of things are significant here. One is it puts to shame the nonsensical myth that Bondo folks are Raila’s property that Raila directs on what to think what to do and even when to stop thinking and that Raila wil direct those same Bondo folks to support Oburu because Oburu is Raila’s brother. I know that shallow crappy way of looking at things is not the menu on this board but it is a religion in many “discussion” fora and it forms the basis of some people’s pyche and it is pretty much what they yap about 24/7.

          Bondo politics is bigger than Raila Odinga. In fact Bondo was prominent in national politics when Raila was still a baby. They were a nightmare to Jomo Kenyatta as they kept rejecting anybody whom Kenyatta and later Moi tried to impose on them. Omamo slithered his way in for a bit but later had to flee to Muhoroni.

          In fact the competition to win Bondo folks for status quo has actually done us, the people of Bondo a lot of favours. We have two districts, Rarieda and Bondo in a place which should really be one district, but Kibaki had to do that to help his buddy Tuju whom the Rarieda folks still kicked out. Why does that matter? A lot. I learnt in my last trip that District headquarters and activities there pretty much determine the limits of what local folks can do. They have agricultural officers and these days they are pretty good if you know what you are doing. They are not going to come to you. But if you are into serious farming you will get a lot of free help and support from them. Same with the forest officers. They are fantastic.

          I visited Bondo Ardhi House, which is a brand new magnificient building. The service is very good although you have to be pushy. The feld officers are very efficient and well trained. You can sort out your title deed bila shida and in no time. The surveyors are very efficient and in case you have disputes with some of those pesky neighbours you bring the surveyors and have the boundaries settled mara once. No need to settle that with machettes and rungus.

          Essentially the district is the hub of a lot of economic activity. In my discussions with folks down there including aspiring political fellows including one of the guys who wants to replace Oburu we pretty much agreed that the devolution process must be worked very carefully to absorb all those services where eliminating the kifua masters of kina DC etc. By the way I read somewhere about Uhuru promising chiefs new jobs next year. We will see about that.

          In a nutshell Bondo is a very happening place and now complete with a beautiful university college and I can tell you they have some real smart minds there running the show including my great friend and fellow kakamega alumni Prof. Olima Asembo who is the deputy V.C in charge of Finance and Admin. Super sharp.

          Anyways the Bondo of mad dirt poor Raila “robots” exists only in the sick imagination of some Raila obsessed neanderthals most of whom have never been to Bondo. Do we have problems there? You bet. Plenty of them. Water and sanitation is a disaster. Schools. Terrible rural roads. Sick health system if one can call it a system na kadhalika. Same as everywhere else in rural Kenya.

          So what is my point? Simple. Raila cannot and will not even attempt to impose Oburu as the ODM choice for the senator’s race. Raila knows the people of Bondo and he has a lot of respect for them. Oburu has never needed Raila in Bondo. It is the people of Siaya county will deomocratically nominate the ODM candidate and right now it looks like that person will be James Orengo. But of course the loud mouths who think they know the people of Siaya and Bondo more than we know ourselves will continue yapping about Raila imposing Oburu etc. What else can they talk about? Poor things.

          One more thing. Someone need to advise the ODM top honchos that they should not waste too much time on collecting garbage, namely harvesting sitting M.Ps to defect to their party which seems to be an obsession in some quarters. Yes you can attract candidates etc but always remember that 80% of those sitting M.Ps will lose their seats in the next Generation Election. So go easy on the garbage collection please.

          What ODM needs to do right now is to have an army of volunteers and paid staff to comb every corner of the nation, particularly in places where they have good support to help young people obtain I.Ds. They are free now, thanks to Kajwang’s directive which has now been gazetted. I bet you most of those folks do not even know they can obtain their ID’s for free and those who know may be too busy trying to make a living to bother with I.Ds. Collect those young people village by village, home by home and house by house and help them go to the centres and apply for I.Ds.

          There are literally millions of unregistered voters out there who need I.Ds. The voter registration starts Nov. 12, 2012. Make it a priority to help people gets I.Ds and to help them register. That is a more important and urgent task right now than this circus of parading defecting M.P’s. Put your energy and resources there. It is not enough to just talk about that in rallies. Put in place a mechanism to ensure people are getting IDs and registering as voters. Learn something from Team Obama has done in places like Ohio which may very well be the reason they will win the US presidential elections


        • Adongo,

          I thought you are already registered as one of the blog Authors as this enables you to start new threads and gives you editing and a host of other tools. It also enables you to upload pictures etc.

          In case you are not yet registered as an Author, please give the Blog Admin a shout at




      • Any party that wants to look credible in the eyes of the people must conduct fair nominations. But fair nominations in a party´s stronghold can be very elusive because of the number of people vying for same positions. Getting nomination in such cases mostly means winning the elections. It’s there for a “life and death” situation for some of the candidates. In such strongholds, competition is tougher at the nomination than the elections proper.

        Most of the political parties have often conducted countrywide nominations on the same day. This has failed 99% of the times. This is mostly due to lack of a proper monitoring body. The body that could have done this is the IIEBC, but as AO mentioned above, it’s just too expensive. Perhaps the government should consider subsidizing the nominations instead of increasing MPs salaries (Opps! Kibaki rejected that). Alternatively credible private security firms could simple take charge as happens in some countries such as Sweden. Kenya has police too BUT we all know what they are good at. Besides they would be partisan and even fuel violence and chaos.

        As for the subject of the thread, majority of people on the ground say that Oburu is going nowhere. Obviously Oburu hopes to ride on the back of the PM. My guess is that if Orengo feels that the PM would interfere with the process of nominations (there are no indications as to that yet), he might just as well run as an independent and still win the seat with little problem. Oburu does not have the numbers nor is he popular enough to turn things in his own favor.

        As Job indicated above, the PM must keep of the ODM nominations unless he does not want to be president. Nobody should be favored by the leadership.


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