By Antony Oyugi
The race to succeed Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga has gathered momentum with several Siaya politicians speculated to be interested in the seat making manœuvres in the county and nationally. Notable names mentioned are Ugunja MP and PAC Chairman Hon Opiyo Wandayi, Siaya Senator Hon James Orengo and former Rarieda MP Hon Nicholas Gumbo.
Though none of the three politicians has expressly disclosed his bid, their activities and those of their associates point towards gubernatorial bids. Hon Wandayi has been busy in his constituency launching development projects which are not just the envy of his colleagues within the county and beyond but which have also drawn the attention of ODM Party Leader Prime Minister Raila Odinga who has lauded his development record. Some of his flagship projects include a Ksh 1.2b water project in River Nzoia that will serve Ugunja and Ugenya constituencies, an NYS outpost, the Ugunja Technical Training Institute and the Ugunja KMTC campus. Hon Wandayi has also been lauded for his good performance record as PAC chairman
As Hon Wandayi continues to draw praise and admiration, Senator Orengo and Hon Gumbo have been running around Siaya with all manner of initiatives including harambees, distributing sanitizers and iron sheets plus Lewis. What has captured the attention of residents though is that Senator Orengo who has been in public service before most of them were born has suddenly become philanthropic and is engaging in what can be basically referred to as giving handouts. They are asking themselves why the sudden generosity but nothing to show for his over 40 years in public service including some as a Minister
The activities of Hons Orengo and Gumbo seem to have drawn the attention of Rt Hon Raila Odinga who recently held a meeting with the three politicians and called for a focus on development rather than empty politicking. Also in attendance was EALA MP Hon Oburu Odinga who is reported to be gunning for the Senatorial seat. Hon Oburu’s bid complicates Senator Orengo’s ambitions since it practically locks him out from defending his Senatorial position and must go for Governor to the very end if Hon Wandayi goes for the same seat because both are from the wider Ugenya which means they cannot have both Senator and Governor
The statement by Rt Hon Raila Odinga on development has also thrown the Orengo and Gumbo camps into confusion since as Senator and former MP respectively they lack a platform to speak about development or launch projects. Another angle in the matrix is Governor Rasanga who though outgoing enjoys influence and a network in the county having served as Governor for two terms and campaigned in two elections and a by election. His network in the political and business circles cannot be wished away. Governor Rasanga is on record saying that he will only support a development oriented successor and this has been interpreted to mean he is endorsing Hon Wandayi. It is noteworthy that Rt Hon Raila Odinga also talked about development
As time goes, we can only wait to see and hear matters development in Siaya