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Ojodeh cleverly juggled ODM and PNU politics

By Kepher Otieno

One thing that Ndhiwa Constituency residents will remember about their departed MP Orwa Ojodeh is his brand of politics.

Ojodehhh, who was also Internal Security Assistant Minister, often kept people guessing about his moves. This started during the times of former area MP Tom Obondo.

Most people recall the late minister enjoyed huge backing from State orderlies.

When his father died last year, nearly all top Government officials in the Office of the President attended the burial in a show of solidarity.

President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga were both present.

The entire security team led by Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere and then Internal Security PS Francis Kimemia were also present.

Not even perceived ODM adversaries were left behind. Presidential aspirants Uhuru Kenyatta, Eugene Wamalwa, Moses Wetangula and William Ruto and MPs Cyrus Jirongo, William Kabogo and Ekwe Ethuro also attended the funeral.

Cabinet ministers Otieno Kajwang, James Orengo, Anyang Nyong’o and Njeru Githae too were present as well as several assistant ministers.

After the burial, he announced his political ambitions in the coming General Election.

Ojodehhh has been mute on political discourse to an extent that some people always mistook him for an enemy of ODM, the party that sponsored him to Parliament.

But what is amazing is that even amid doubts of his political inclinations, most of the times he showed up in Parliament and sat next to Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

The two would then chat happily putting to rest ideas of sour relationship between them.

political cause

While in Ndhiwa, Ojodeh would tell people he was an ardent supporter of Raila.

John Otieno, a resident, recalls what the minister always said; “Raila is the people’s confectionary. (Raila en a tam tam raia).’’

So firmly rooted was he in politics that even his opponents would always remain baffled at what was his next political cause.

At some point, people thought that he would defect from ODM to PNU when in 2005, ODM walked out of the Cabinet after the referendum.

By virtue of his close association with the President, he was appointed to Ministry of Environment, but because of ODM’s popularity on the ground, he declined the offer.

The appointment found him when he was at home. Later, Raila called and told him no ODM member was accepting any Cabinet offer.

He told Raila, “Go ahead and announce that I will not take up the appointment.’’ And Raila while in Nairobi went ahead and dismissed the appointment.

relations with voters

Ojodeh noted the appointments were behind Raila’s back and would antagonise his relations with voters.

Analysts say he was a politician one would not understand easily. PNU knew he was their man and ODM too. Ojodeh’s political star started to rise in 1994 when he first got to Parliament on a Ford–Kenya ticket in a hotly contested by-election.

proverbial elephant

By this time, the late Jaramogi Odinga was in vibrant opposition politics against the Kanu regime.

Ojodeh rode to Parliament because of his policies on infrastructure and political philosophies, which echoed Jaramogi’s.

Like the proverbial elephant jokes, Ojodehhh was referred to us the king of politics in Ndhiwa.

When Ojodeh went to Parliament his opposition colleagues called him an elephant. This later changed to Sirikal when he joined Government.



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