Siaya Senator James Orengo has had an on-and-off relationship with Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga.
But despite ditching Raila on several occasions in the past, including in 2002 when he ran for the presidency, the fiery lawyer is still one of ODM leader’s most trusted lieutenants.
Orengo, who was a key figure in the liberation struggle for multiparty politics, once said he only differed with Raila on strategy rather than opinion.
But in March 2018, weeks after Raila and President Uhuru Kenyatta made a political truce in the form of a handshake at Harambee House, Orengo stirred up a heated political debate by suggesting that the Deputy President William Ruto was impeachable on account of gross misconduct.
Orengo’s contributions to multiparty politics can never be underrated and his agitation for improved governance in Kenya have kept the government in check.
Raila’s 2022 plans
As he appears on Punchline on Sunday at 9 pm and in the backdrop of heated 2022 succession politics and change the Constitution calls, Kenyans are anxious to know just what Orengo’s boss, Raila, is cooking up.
The Uhuru-Raila handshake seems to have rocked the ruling party hard, with two factions engaged in constant battles especially in the vote-rich Mt Kenya region.
With President Kenyatta set to step down in 2022 after serving his two terms in office, Mt Kenya region has been looking for a ‘Kingpin’ and Mr Kenyatta’s deputy, Dr William Ruto, is keen to inherit the bloc.
But Raila has been making in-roads, with his foe-now-turned friend, Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, claiming that the region is ready to accept the former prime minister.
Referendums have become powerful political tools in Kenya as witnessed in 2005 and 2010, tools which powerful politicians whether for the greater good or personal gain use to test their muscles ahead of General Elections.
In 2019, Thirdway Alliance Kenya leader Ekuru Aukot kicked off the referendum debate with his Punguza Mizigo Initiative.
The referendum bill has been rejected in several Mt Kenya county assemblies and has also been opposed by DP Ruto and his rival Raila.
But politicians as well as Kenyans have also been eagerly awaiting a report by the handshake team, Building Bridges Initiative, that Raila has promised his supporters will answer many questions about referendum calls.
The Council of Governors has also launched its own initiative dubbed Ugatuzi in which they want an expanded Executive with posts for President, Deputy President, Prime Minister and two deputy ministers.
Ugatuzi Initiative also proposes that Cabinet members be chosen from among sitting members of Parliament with ministries limited to not more than 18 with at least 22 deputy ministers.
Governors also want each county represented in the government and to have either a Cabinet minister, deputy minister or a principal secretary.
The initiative announced by CoG Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya, who is a close ally of Raila, also wants the leader of parties or coalition with the second largest number of seats to sit in the National Assembly as leader of the opposition.
Questions for Orengo
It is within such a complex political climate that Punchline host, Anne Kiguta, takes on the fiery Orengo.
Here are some of the questions Kenyans want Orengo to answer on Punchline.
- Is Raila Odinga running for president come 2022?
- Is handshake the end of Raila’s quest for the presidency? Seat #OrengoOnPunchline
- Is the referendum push a move for more seats in favour of the opposition?
- When is he (Orengo) planning to quit abrasive politics? More than 40 years of teargas is just too much.
- In reference to the “revolutions eat their own people, governments eat their own people…this government is going to punish you more than it will punish me. In another year, some of you will be crying in my office to go and represent you in court,” remarks, had he seen it in a vision?
- Would he (Orengo) be interested in making a stab for the presidency?
- Just asking, safari ya Canaan bado ipo ama mamba zimezuia njia (is the journey to Canaan still on or have crocodiles blocked the path)?
- Is it true that Siaya people don’t think for themselves and instead rely on him (Orengo) for political decisions?