Raila Odinga 'orphans' stare at life in political cold

But Prof Amukowa Anangwe formerly of the University of Dodoma and a Moi-era Cabinet minister is optimistic about the turn of events.

"Changeovers have winners and losers but precedents have demonstrated that things finally work out for everyone to be in the mainstream. They supported Azimio in the mistaken belief that it would win, but now Ruto is the president-elect," said Prof Anangwe.

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka is no doubt one of those hard hit by the turn of events in Azimio. The Ukambani kingpin who was the designated Chief Minister in an Azimio government will be in the cold for the third time since 2013. Kalonzo was Raila's running mate in the 2013 and 2017 elections, which they lost.

Although Kalonzo performed exceptionally well in mobilising votes for Azimio in last month's elections, he could find himself without a political office. By 2027 when the next elections will be held, Kalonzo will be 73, while Ruto will be 60.

If Ruto wins a second term and the Wiper leader challenges him in 2032, the senior counsel would have clocked 78 - one year above the current age of Raila.

Cabinet appointment

The other Raila orphans include former Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu who gave up defending her seat following a promise of a Cabinet appointment.

Ms Ngilu who had just completed her first term gave an easy passage to her predecessor Julius Malombe who sailed easily on a Wiper ticket.

Her fate appears similar to Karua's.

Karua dropped her bid for Kirinyanga governorship that would have pitted her against bitter rival Governor Anne Waiguru and outgoing Woman Representative Wangui Ngirici after Raila picked her as running mate.

Waiguru successfully defended her seat but Ngirici has threatened to file an election petition in court.

The Azimio defeat in the elections means Karua will continue to wallow in the political cold for another five years, the third since she vacated her Gichugu parliamentary seat to vie for the presidency in the 2013 presidential race.

Former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth is also staring at a bleak political future after he remained committed to the Azimio cause until the end despite being overlooked as Raila's running mate in favour of Karua.

Kenneth has been in the political cold since 2013. In 2017, he threw his hat in the ring for Nairobi governorship but lost in the Jubilee Party nominations to Mike Mbuvi Sonko. Kenneth vied as an independent candidate but lost again to the flamboyant politician.

Other political actors who threw their weight behind the Azimio leader are Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary General Francis Atwoli, Nominated MP Maina Kamanda, Azimio Secretary General Raphael Tuju and Jubilee vice chairman David Murathe. The leaders made provocative pronouncements against Ruto's candidature and it will be interesting to see how they will manoeuvre the political landscape with President Uhuru Kenyatta out of office and Raila in the opposition.

Second-term governors seeking to get a political lifeline through Cabinet appointments also rallied behind the Azimio leader.

They include former governors Hassan Joho (Mombasa), Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), James Ongwae (Kisii) and Murang'a's Mwangi wa Iria.


Joho and Oparanya were Lands and Treasury Cabinet Secretaries designate under Azimio but they will now stay in the political cold alongside first-term counterparts in Mt Kenya who took the gamble of siding with Azimio, including Francis Kimemia (Nyandarua), Ndiritu Muriithi (Laikipia), James Nyoro (Kiambu), Lee Kinyanjui and Alex Tolgos (Elgeyo Marakwet).

Defections by former Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi and former Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana immediately after humiliating losses appear master strokes, and in hindsight, might work wonders for their political careers.

Other Azimio orphans are former Nyeri Deputy Governor Caroline Karugu and former Nairobi Governor Anne Kananu who were on the Jubilee National Assembly party list for nominations but are unlikely to get the slots.

Others who took costly gambles are outgoing MPs who were swept away by UDA wave in Mt Kenya. They include Jubilee Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni (Ndaragwa), immediate past National Assembly Majority Leader Amos Kimunya, Kanini Kega (Kieni), Ngunjiri Wambugu (Nyeri town), Maore Maoka (Igembe North), senator Charles Kibiru (Kirinyaga) and governor aspirants Jamleck Kamau (Murang'a) and Lenny Kivuti (Embu).

In the outgoing Uhuru Cabinet, most CSs who aligned with Azimio are not sitting pretty.

The Cabinet Secretaries who publicly opposed Ruto's candidature include Peter Munya (Agriculture), Dr Fred Matiang'i, (Interior), Eugene Wamalwa (Devolution) and Joe Mucheru (ICT).

Others are Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations boss George Kinoti who have always faced criticism from the Ruto camp over the manner in which they conducted their duties.

Then there are others such as former Water CS Sicily Kariuki who quit to vie for Nyandarua governorship but opted out of the race with a promise for appointment in Azimio government.

"There is no space for them with new pointmen in their backyards except for quick-witted politicians such as Kiraitu," Naituli said.