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Kisumu Women Representative Ruth Odinga seeks to replace Azimio Leader Raila Odinga as ODM Party leader if he succeeds in his AU bid.

Ruth said if none of the Nyanza leaders is able to replace Raila then she was ready to take up the button and revive the party.

“I have been tried and tested both in the assembly and in public. I was the fast woman who went to exile after 1982 coup when the then regime was pursuing me to reveal Raila’s hideout.

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“The positions I have held in this country are through merit, earned due to my struggle and not favour from Odinga family as speculated by certain quarters,” Ruth said.

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She added that going by the struggle spirit, she wouldn’t back down on her bid to lead ODM Party.

“We have formed several parties under Raila Odinga’s leadership and now that he is eyeing the AU job, some leaders who are not part of the struggle are now strategizing to get it on a silver platter,” said Ruth.

Speaking when she visited her father’s grave at Kango K’Jaramogi, Ruth Odinga vowed not to let go ODM to persons she was sure would not live up to the ideologies of the party.

“We know the capacity of every person that subscribes to ODM and though they have a right to claim party leadership, still they are unsuitable,” said Odinga adding that if the yardstick was a matter of  ones contribution to the political struggle then she was best placed to replace Raila.

Odinga who spoke in the presence of Siaya Governor James Aggrey Bob Orengo said they won’t allow invitees to run the affairs of the party.

Odinga said those who have declared interest do not merit the party leadership and should they win, it will not only be a blow to members but also the beginning of the destruction of the party.

Rarieda MP Paul Otiende Amollo earlier on asked ODM leaders not to let the seat go to the wrong hands.

“Nyanza has paid the price and it’s the sons and daughters from the luo community that died in the political struggle so the leadership of the party should come from the Community,” said Amollo.

Amollo while attending a church service at Holy Trinity Church in Kisumu proposed Orengo for the post of Chairperson.

“In terms of seniority and contribution to the political struggle then Orengo is most ideal for the post,” said Amollo.

Similar sentiments were echoed by Roots Party Leader Professor George Wajackoyah who termed those eyeing the seat as gamblers and jokers who may ultimately use the seat as political bait.

“Though I don’t subscribe to ODM Party, but none of those who declared interest can run it successfully, we rather endorse and support Orengo,” Wajackoyah said while he attended a burial of former Councilor in East Ugenya.

The party succession politics is likely to cause division among party members if not carefully handled.

Raila has urged his footsoldiers not to let the party break over his succession but to let consultations and good sense reign.

“Am pursuing the AUC position, but am still around. If Baba is not around, I expect you to sit down as ODM members and agree because the party needs my two deputies (Former Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho and Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya as well as other party members.”

Raila warned against attempts to divide the party along regional lines.

“Let’s not divide the party along regional lines of Western, Nyanza, Nairobi or Coast. Let’s be all ODM members, if ODM wants to do elections it will be constituted as a united ODM Party because if we divide the party along regionalism, we shall break it,” said the doyen of Kenya’s opposition politics.

Already two distinct camps have emerged; one led by Oparanya and Joho while the other fronts  leaders such as Edwin Sifuna, Opiyo Wandayi and Babu Owino.

Mr Joho is positioning himself as the one with capacity to inject new energy and fresh blood into the party.

The leaders said they want to relieve Odinga of shouldering every party burden.

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