By Felix Olick
Immediate former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s campaign manager James Ongwae is banking on his experience in the civil service to tap into the fortunes of Kisii County.
Ongwae, who resigned recently from the PM’s presidential campaign secretariat, would be fighting it out with other political heavyweights for the Kisii gubernatorial position.
As he leaves the office, the former Agriculture Permanent Secretary is contented he has set the PM’s campaign machinery into motion. He says that he has only shifted his ‘military’ base from Nairobi to Kisii, but remains a key ODM strategist.
“I am happy to say that I have left a vibrant structure that can operate without necessarily relying on an individual. It’s a system that should be created in all organisations where human beings come and go, but the system remains. But, even in Kisii where I’m gunning for governor, I’m going to work for the PM to ensure he becomes the next president,” he observed in an interview with The Standard On Sunday.
Ongwae, who was replaced at the secretariat by Friends of Raila (Fora) Secretary General Eliud Owallo, has worked in the civil service for more than 30 years.
Previously, he worked as chief management analyst in the Government and as the first programme director of Kenya Civil Service Reform Programme. He was later appointed PS in the Ministry of Agriculture and director of Personnel Management before heading to the Teachers Service Commission as chief executive officer.
?However, his decision to go for the seat creates a tough political calculation for the Orange party Gusii region.
This follows the declaration by Foreign Affairs Assistant Minister Richard Onyonka that he, too, would contest the seat.
Onyonka is another key ally of the PM in Kisii.
However, Raila appeared to be cooling political fires in Kisii ahead of the polls, when he declared that the party has no preferred candidate.