Joho vs Oparanya: Trouble looming at ODM as Bigwigs split on Raila successor

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Joho vs Oparanya: Trouble looming at ODM as Bigwigs split on Raila successor

Fernandes Barasa, governor of Kakamega, believes his predecessor, Wycliffe Oparanya, will succeed Raila Odinga as leader of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).

Mr Odinga, Kenya’s five-time presidential candidate, has expressed interest in running for the Africa Union (AU) commission chairmanship.

If he is eventually elected chairman of the Addis Abeba-based AU, Mr Odinga, who narrowly lost to President William Ruto in the August 2022 elections, will most likely step down as ODM party leader, a position he has held for the past two decades.

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And this is where Oparanya comes in.

Oparanya, a former planning minister and Butere MP, served as Kakamega county boss from 2013 to 2022 and also deputised for Mr Odinga at ODM.

“I support Raila Odinga’s move to contest for the AU chairmanship position,” said Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa at a public rally in his home turf.

“If Raila is successful. As Kakamega residents, we wish for Oparanya to be the next ODM party leader. Oparanya has been loyal, we do not want any confusion. Those who plan to bring gossip and confusion in this project will not succeed.”

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Oparanya supported Mr Odinga in the 2022 elections after he was publicly promised the Treasury Cabinet Secretary position during the campaign. He has remained loyal to Mr Odinga even as other politicians, including those close to the party leader, abandoned him after he failed to defeat President Ruto.

Other than Oparanya, ex-Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, who is also the deputy party leader at ODM, nominated MP John Mbadi, and lawmakers Edwin Sifuna and Opiyo Wandayi have been mentioned as possible successors to Mr Odinga at ODM.

At the national level, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka is widely regarded as the front-runner to take over as opposition leader.

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Joho vs Oparanya: Trouble looming at ODM as Bigwigs split on Raila successor

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