Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala has said his Siaya counterpart James Orengo is the most qualified to succeed Governor Cornel Rasanga.

Malala said no one in Siaya has the political and managerial skills Orengo has to be able to run the county.

“I know those geared to compete with Orengo for Siaya governor cannot even tap investors from abroad as no one knows them beyond Siaya,” Malala said.

Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, Siaya Deputy Governor James Okumbu and former Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo have all expressed interest in the governor’s position.

Human rights activist Chris Owala said Malala’s endorsement of Orengo will only work in his favour if the Siaya senator convinces the people to vote for him.

Owala said it will be unfortunate for Orengo if he fails to convince residents to elect him as the next governor, yet he was reelected as senator without campaigning.

“Orengo’s dream of becoming the next Siaya governor is not far-fetched as no one can deny him the ODM certificate, especially after walking with the party leader through thick and thin,” he added.

Orengo was elected as MP for Ugenya on a Kanu ticket in a by-election in 1980 aged 29. He was subsequently elected as an MP in December 1992 on a Ford Kenya ticket.

He was reelected in December 1997 on a Ford-Kenya ticket but lost his seat in the 2002, when he also contested for the Presidency on a Social Democratic Party ticket and finished fourth after Mwai Kibaki, Uhuru Kenyatta and Simeon Nyachae. He garnered just 0.4 per cent of the votes.

His party lost all of its parliamentary places as many of SDP’s leading figures had joined the Narc coalition.

In 2007, he recaptured the Ugenya parliamentary seat on an ODM ticket.

During the post-election crisis in 2008, Orengo served as one of four spokespersons for ODM in its attempts to settle its dispute with the Party of National Unity.

Orengo was sworn in as a Minister for Lands in the new Coalition Government formed under the National Accord Act of 2008.

He was sworn in in 2013 as the senator for Siaya county and was reelected in 2017. In 2018, he was chosen to replace Moses Wetang’ula as the Minority leader in the Senate.

In 2019, Orengo was appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila to the task force team to implement the Building Bridges Initiative.

Gem MP Elisha Odhiambo, Alego Usonga MP Samuel Atandi, Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo Siaya Woman Rep Christine Ombaka and various MCAs have indicated that they are ready to work with Orengo as the next governor.

By The Star