SECTIONS

From Raila to Ntutus: When politics ran through families

ODM leader Raila Odinga and his brother Oburu Odinga at St. Peters Nyamira ACK Parish in Bondo, Siaya county on December 25, 2018. [File, Standard)

The just concluded elections saw some siblings get elected to various seats, putting some families from different parts of the country in public limelight.

Some of the prominent families that will have representation in Parliament include that of Kenya’s first Vice President Jaramogi Oginga Odinga. Even as Jaramogi’s son Raila Odinga who contested the presidency and is now battling in the Supreme Court, his elder brother Oburu Oginga is waiting to take oath as Siaya Senator. His younger sister Ruth Odinga was elected as Kisumu County Woman Representative.

Should Raila’s petition be allowed and he is declared the winner, the family will have three members holding elective positions.

Oburu was first elected as Bondo MP in 1994, inheriting the seat held by his late father. Earlier, Raila had been elected in the 1992 elections to represent Bondo and Langata constituencies respectively. Oburu and Raila represented their respective constituencies until 2013 when Oburu tried his hand in Siaya governorship seat but flopped. He was nominated to the East African Parliament while Raila vied for presidency and lost to Uhuru Kenyatta.

Bungoma brothers

“I would like to thank people of Siaya County for giving me a chance to serve them as their senator for the next five years. I promise to play my oversight role for Siaya County Government effectively to the benefit of our people,” said Oburu.

In 2013, Ruth served as Kisumu Deputy Governor under Governor Jack Ranguma and when Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o took over as governor in 2017, she became a director in charge of special programmes.

At the same time, there are two brothers from Bungoma who also sailed through. Ford Kenya Party leader Moses Wetang’ula and his younger brother Tim Wanyonyi successfully defended Bungoma senate and Westlands MP seats respectively. Wetang’ula was elected to Parliament for the first time in 1992 as Kanu MP. He was later elected as Sirisia MP in 2002 and maintained his grip on the seat until 2013 when he successfully contested for Bungoma Senator.

The Bungoma Senator-elect is now being fielded as the possible candidate for Kenya Kwanza Alliance for National Assembly Speaker and if he gets elected he will get a chance to preside over a house where his brother Wanyonyi will be serving a third term.

“The people of Bungoma have shown confidence in my leadership by a giving me another opportunity to serve them as their senator. I promise to ensure all promises made to them during campaigns are delivered,” said Wetang’ula.

Wanyonyi was first elected as Westlands MP on an ODM ticket in 2013 General Election and was touted as a suitable candidate for Nairobi governorship under Azimio la Umoja One Kenya but later changed his mind. Despite his elder brother being a staunch supporter of President-elect William Ruto, Wanyonyi has been an ardent supporter of Raila and was among key leaders campaigning for his presidential bid in Nairobi.

Narok Governor Patrick Ntutu and his brother Narok South MP Kitilai Ntutu are sons of late paramount chief Lerionka ole Ntuntu who are currently serving their people at the county government and National Assembly.

This will not be the first time this is happening because in 2013 Stephen Ntutu who had previously served as Narok South MP for two terms was elected as Narok senator while his brother Patrick was elected as Narok West MP.

Stephen would, however, retire from politics in 2017 and supported Patrick who tried his luck in the Narok Governor seat race where he emerged second losing to the incumbent Samuel Tunai and was lucky in 2022 when the outgoing governor supported him.

When Patrick lost the Narok governorship seat in 2017, President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed him Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Interior and later transferred him to the Ministry of Labour in a similar capacity where he served until he resigned to join politics.

“I am grateful to the people of Narok for electing me as their next Governor for the next five years, I will ensure that the vast natural resources that are at our disposal are used to the benefit of the area residents during my tenure in office,” said Patrick.

Few political families

Emurua Dikirr MP-elect Johanna Ngeno is a son-in-law to the Ntutu brothers given that he is married to their brother Livingstone’s daughter Naiyanoi and he was instrumental in campaigning for Patrick and Kitilai amongst his Kipsigis kinsmen.

There was a time the sons of former Cabinet Minister Jeremiah Nyagah, Joseph Nyagah and Norman Nyagah served as Gachoka MP and Kamukunji MP respectively between 1997 and 2007.

Former Minister William Morogo and his brother late Eric Morogo represented Mogotio and Rongai constituencies respectively between 1997 and 2002. The late former Butere MP Martin Shikuku and his brother the late former Nakuru Town MP Lwali Oyondi served together in Parliament between 1992 and 1997. Political analyst Dismus Mokua said Kenya has few political families with members enjoying brand recognition.

“This is why members of political families who probably have political DNA join competitive politics with children born in political families appreciating competitive politics at an early stage because politics is part and parcel of kitchen table conversations,” said Mokua. 

He explained that these family members are not necessarily elected because of family brands but because they identify electoral areas they are interested in and make a bid with family recognition being an asset and sometimes a liability.

Mokua said such members have to demonstrate leadership and convince voters and that in most occasions they do not show good leadership skills but early exposure to competitive politics and appreciation of the art or science of winning. 

“Family membership gives members assets, skills and experiences that gives them a head start in politics compared to others who have never indulged in political activities before,” he said.