I have listened to former Kisii Gov Ongwae and ex-Woman rep Janet Ong’era while ditching ODM and I think their grounds are insufficient. They were looking for exit strategy. This was just a classic case of betraying Raila Odinga.
For James Ongwae, he should be the last person to claim of being mishandled in ODM. In 2008 a greenhorn Ongwae joined Kitutu Chache race and lost to Momoima Onyonka in primaries. But because of the potential which Raila saw in him, he was awarded the certificate only to lose.
In 2013, Raila Odinga picked Ongwae as his candidate for Kisii gubernatorial seat, traversed with him in the vast county and went on to win. Infact, Raila instructed former Sen Obure to do all he can to ensure Ongwae wins. After his victory, he became a household name in ODM.
Similarly, Raila absorbed Ongwae to his politburo. In 2017, when Ongwae’s loyalty was questioned, Raila stood with him. For the last five years, Ongwae has been literally the eye and ear of Raila in Gusii politics. You could literally not see Raila without Ongwae’s blessings.
For Janet Ong’era, she’s been the chief beneficiary of ODM. Infact, Ms. Ong’era is the longest serving ODM Executive Director. This is the position she was rewarded even with full knowledge that she was a sympathizer of YK-92 of William Ruto. This is fulcrum in ODM politics.
In 2013, Ong’era was nominated to Senate by ODM, serving for 5 years. In 2017, she carried the party’s flag and went on to become Kisii Woman Rep, a position she lost to former Radio presenter Doris Aburi [Donya Toto] of Wiper in 2022.
A few days to elections, Ms. Aburi joined ODM with motivation from the current Kisii Gov Simba Arati. This threatened Ms. Ong’era who had blessings of Ongwae. The two rushed to Nairobi, asked Raila to convene a meeting. Raila declined to allow Arati’s team field Woman Rep.
With the turnout of events, Aburi, the eventual winner, ditched ODM and subsequently, joined Wiper. The ODM proceeded to give Ms. Ong’era a direct ticket despite her dwindling popularity. After elections, the two quickly paraded other losers and visited William Ruto.
This begs the question; at what time were they belittled in ODM? Ongwae was even Azimio coordinator for Nyanza despite openly decampaining ODM candidates including Arati. Raila openly endorsed Ong’era for her second term as Kisii Woman Rep.
It is quick insincere and dishonest for the two to claim they were mishandled. Did Raila Odinga become bad when he lost elections? Janet has even been serving as ODM Deputy Vice Chair. Whatever they have done today amounts to betrayal and their exit is unjustifiable.
As they leave, ours is just to wish them well in their next destination. Ongwae must be even suffering from the victory of Arati, who he worked hard to lock out of Kisii gubernatorial race. We don’t need rocket science to tell they are basically headed to Ruto’s camp.
Before they join Ruto, it is my singular duty to remind them the president has shown how he disregards Abagusii. On Wed, he failed to appoint even one PS from either Nyamira or Kisii. He only gave us one CS. Since independence, it is the first time we have failed to get PS.
When Raila was PM, he gave us ministers and assistant ministers. He has always held the community with high regard. The worst thing those senior politicians who he had absorbed to his system would do, is to claim he mistreated them. This is disrespectful and uncalled for.
They have just demonstrated that after all, their so called loyalty to Raila Odinga was fake. I don’t know why Mr. Odinga trusts such mischievous characters. But with that immature walk away, their fortunes in Kisii politics will significantly diminish. I wish them well.