Hard times for Orengo and Rasanga as local leaders unite to scuttle their plan

Siaya County leaders during the 2017 General Election. A section of the local leaders have united to oppose plans by Governor Cornel Rasanga and Senator James Orengo to switch seats. [Isaiah Gwengi, Standard]

Governor Cornel Rasanga and Senator James Orengo’s plan to switch seats in the 2022 General Election is causing ripples in Siaya County’s politics.

Local leaders are not happy with Rasanga following reports that he will be seeking to succeed Orengo in the Senate after serving his final term.

Those opposing the plan said it was inconsequential and did not guarantee any support from the local leaders. Orengo has been considered as the ideal candidate to replace Raila Odinga as the Luo kingpin. He was first elected to represent Ugenya in a special by-election in 1980. He later lost the seat in 1982, before recapturing it in 1992 after which he served for two terms.

The lawyer found himself in political cold in 2002 following his unsuccessful presidential bid.

Serious test

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In 2007, he represented Ugenya for one more term before moving to the senate in 2013, where he is serving his second term.

While Orengo has declared an interest in running for governor’s post in 2022, he now faces arguably the most serious test to his influence from the local leaders after former Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo announced a political comeback.

On Friday during the burial of West Yimbo chief Daniel Tiang’ in Kanyibok village, Bondo sub-county, Gumbo and MCAs who were present declared an all-out war on the duo.

The funeral of the chief was also attended by Bondo MP Gideon Ochanda and former members of Siaya County Assembly.

“We are no longer going to be “professional” voters. The people of upper Yala have served their two terms and they should allow people from the other regions to lead,” Gumbo said.

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The former MP, who lauded the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, said that it has ended political witch-hunt in Luo-Nyanza.

The funeral turned into a battleground for succession politics, signaling the beginning of what could be a long-drawn confrontation ahead of the 2022 General Election.

The war of words started after Yimbo East MCA Francis Otiato and his nominated counterpart Irene Shirley questioned Governor Rasanga’s development record.

The MCAs claimed the governor and the senator have worked hard to ensure that the residents remain poor. “We can’t run away from succession politics,” Otiato said.

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Siaya County2017 General Election.Governor Cornel RasangaSenator James OrengoYimbo East MCA Francis Otiatopresidential bid2022 General ElectionPresident Uhuru KenyattaRaila Odinga