By Antony Oyugi
The 2022 Siaya gubernatorial race is getting tighter and hotter with several leaders speculated to be gearing up to do political battle. One of these leaders is Ugunja MP Hon Opiyo who is coming up day by day to be the strongest contender. Though he hasn’t made a declaration of his ambition to replace Governor Cornel Rasanga who is doing his final term, Hon Wandayi isn’t just a victim of speculation but increased public yearning and persuasion.
The speculation and persuasion is informed by several factors. Hon Wandayi has an impeccable development record and was just recently ranked top in Luo Nyanza by a reputable polling and public relations company Infotrack. Another factor that works in favor of Hon Wandayi is his record in parliamentary matters. He is not only the Chairman of the powerful watchdog committee the Public Accounts Committee but is the only parliamentary committee Chairman who is honoured to serve a second term in this parliament. His impressivet performance as PAC Chairman has caught the admiration of not only his parliamentary colleagues including Speaker Hon Justin Muturi but has gone into the African region where his sister PAC colleagues continentwide unanimously elected him the Vice Chairman of the Organization of African Public Accounts Committees (OAPAC) the umbrella body of African PACs.
Hon Wandayi is also an experienced and smart politician who cut his political teeth at the feet of the doyen of multiparty politics and the Luo political father and greatest mentor the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga as Ford Kenya Deputy Secretary of Youth Affairs. Upon Jaramogi’s demise and the ensuing drama in Ford Kenya, Hon Wandayi made the wise decision to join current Luo political supremo and political father Raila Odinga in the National Development Party (NDP) where he quickly earned the respect of his peers and Raila because of his courage intelligence and eloquence. While at NDP Hon Wandayi was a great mobiliser and was at the forefront especially when it came to mobilising the party youth around a political cause of party and national interest. After winning the Ugunja parliamentary seat in 2013, Hon Wandayi was quickly identified as a loyal ODM member upon which he was persuaded to contest for the position of Deputy Secretary General in the botched Kasarani party polls. He would thereafter be appointed Party Secretary of Political Affairs a position he ably holds to-date.
This long history of exceptional political loyalty, courage and consistency is a big plus to Hon Wandayi as we get closer to the race. It has also afforded him an enviable network not just politically but also in other spheres where there are friends who nowadays jokingly refer to him as Wuod Jakom thanks to his long close association with both Jaramogi and Raila
On the social front Hon Wandayi has on innumerable occasions been praised as one of the most accessible leaders. He not only picks calls even from “strange” numbers but also takes time to personally interact with the people if he gets the chance to and get to hear them and offer assistance and advice if need be. Many people have also confided that Hon Wandayi never forgets a face.
With all these qualities going for him, it will be a tall order to defeat Hon Wandayi in Siaya.