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Five possible Raila Odinga's successors
By Charles Bazenga | Updated Jan 29, 2019 at 10:42 EAT
Raila Odinga

Raila Odinga is a seasoned politician whose dreams to “liberate” Kenyans from social, political and economic challenges

His political journey is an epitome of resilience, self redefinition and optimism

Raila Odinga is a seasoned politician whose dreams to “liberate” Kenyans from social, political and economic challenges that they face has been hindered by his four times failure to clinch presidency. His political journey is an epitome of resilience, self redefinition and optimism. A time has come when the former premier needs to hand over the mantle of leadership/quest for presidency to someone else…not necessarily from his community. In one of her timeless songs, Dolly Parton once observed that time has a way of turning us old! Rt. Honorable Raila Odinga’s age (74) calls for a hand over.

Below are politicians that may benefit from such a decision;

1. Ali Hassan Joho

His Excellency Hassan Joho is the governor- Mombasa county and Orange Democratic Movement’s deputy party leader. He is a close ally, fierce defender and a self declared political student of Mr. Odinga. Having served two terms as Mombasa county chief, Mr. Joho would want to ascend to a higher political seat. In fact he has in many occasions declared his presidential ambition. The flamboyant governor is admired by a significant population across the country especially the young owing to his firebrand nature, sense of fashion and also his rise in Kenyan politics despite his youthful age and mean academic endowment.

Should Mr. Odinga hand over to him, he will have to come up with a convincing manifesto that will endear him to the citizenry. He will need to traverse the country and make vast networks that would help him in vote hunting. His financial muscle will come in handy because it requires huge amounts of money to mount a presidential campaign.

As to whether he would win the presidential race; Kenyan voter is complicated and gullible… it’s really difficult to determine what elements will win them in the next presidential race.


2. James Aggrey Orengo

Honorable James Orengo is Siaya County Senator. He is a seasoned lawyer par excellence. The firebrand senator is Mr. Odinga’s confidant and loyalist. Being a senior Orange Democratic Movement’s party member, Mr. Orengo could be picked to succeed Mr. Odinga upon the latter’s retirement from active politics. The senate’s minority leader would have a huge task of marketing himself nationallly. He will be required to make contacts across the country that would spearhead his presidential campaigns- it’s an uphill task. The one time presidential candidate (1997) has not recently declared presidential ambition.

3. Paul Babu Owino

Paul Ongili is Embakasi East’s legislator. The young first time MP honed his political skills whilst in the University of Nairobi where he was Students Organization’s president for three times. His populist tendencies have endeared him to Kenyans and a section of the ruling class. He has severally declared higher political ambitions- Nairobi Governorship and presidential but has not specified the timings/priority. His inexperience in national politics would disadvantage him in the race to succeed Raila Odinga. Babu Owino is in the top list of former prime minister’s favorite political leaders in the ODM party.


4. Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya

His Excellency Wycliffe Oparanya is Kakamega county governor and Orange Democratic Movement’s deputy party leader. He recently won the Council of Governors chairmanship in a hotly contested race. He is serving his final term as Kakamega county chief and has a proven track record of successfully managing the affairs of the county. He’s one of the fiercest defender of devolution and enjoys a good rapport with Mr. Odinga. Dr. Oparanya has expressed his presidential ambition many a times. For him to make a national presence he needs to use his position (chairman, CoG) to network throughout the country.

5. John Mbadi

Honorable John Mbadi is the chairman, ODM party and Suba South legislator. The National Assembly’s minority leader is one of Mr. Odinga’s trusted foot soldiers. Being an active ODM leader, he falls on the list of politicians likely to take over from the former prime minister. He however lacks a national appeal- he is popular with the elite and little known to the commoners at the grassroots levels. If he were to succeed Raila Odinga, his biggest challenge would be to unlock the popularity challenge so that he is acceptable across the whole country.


It will not be a walk in the park for Mr. Odinga to choose a successor just as it will easy for President Kenyatta to pick someone from Central Kenya region to push the region’s agenda once he retires. The influence that the potential candidates command, political ideology and their financial muscle will be top elements for both Mr. Odinga and Mr. Kenyatta to consider.

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