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Elders accused of misleading Raila

22 April 2013, 16:26 Oduor Omondi

Plans to have former Prime Minister Raila Odinga return to parliament have gone a notch higher with the Luo Council of Elders now saying they are almost making a breakthrough.   

Council Chairman Willis Otondi said they are exploring many avenues to ensure Odinga returns to Parliament.

Mzee Otondi said the former Premier’s come back will largely be through a by - election at a constituency represented by any ODM MP willing to step down.

Otondi divulged that the issue is still open at the moment, saying that they have not yet decided which MP will step down for Odinga, but said they are optimistic that the situation will be amicably handled ‘to avoid a scenario like the one facing former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka who has failed to persuade any Parliamentarian from his Wiper party to step down for him’.

At a meeting held in Kisumu over the weekend and attended by a majority of politicians and religious leaders from Luo Nyanza, the elders insisted that Odinga has to be in parliament so as to closely monitor the Jubilee government.

Catholic Archbishop Zacheus Okoth who hosted the meeting at the Ukweli Pastoral Centre said they were aware of Odinga’s decision to stay out of Parliament, but insisted they will prevail upon him to reconsider his decision.

The meeting witnessed a heated debate pitting youthful leaders against the elders.

Elders misleading Odinga

The youthful leaders led by Augustine Abuya took a swipe at the elders accusing them of misleading Odinga, arguing that the former Premier had risen above ‘small’ political seats like representing a constituency or even a county.

Abuya further accused a section of elders in the meeting for being behind Odinga’s loss in the March 4 Presidential election, saying they were constantly ‘massaging his ego’ instead of helping him with better campaign ideas.

"Most of these wazees (elders) made Odinga so inaccessible that we couldn’t share our ideas with him. Today, they are here trying to mislead him again. This is quite unacceptable," said a visibly irritated Abuya.  

Siaya County Senator James Aggrey Orengo however warned the leaders to approach the issue cautiously saying if not well handled it may injure Odinga’s hard earned reputation.

On his part, Raila urged the leaders to remain patient and allow him time to consult widely on the issue.

Odinga has in recent past stated that he was not interested in returning to Parliament despite several efforts made by fellow politicians and lobby groups calling on him consider the option.

Luo council Chairman Willis Otondi said there would be further consultations among local leaders comprising clergy, elders and politicians to decide whether Raila should go back to Parliament or not.

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