COVETED GOVERNOR'S JOB

We need a manager, not a politician — Siaya residents

Of those fronted for governor, only Deputy Governor Dr James Okumbe is a manager; the rest are politicians

In Summary

• ODM leader Raila Odinga will face a tough choice in the party nomination. 

•.Deputy Governor Okumbe is a manager facing heavyweights like Senator James Orengo.

Siaya Deputy Governor James Okumbe.
DEPUTY GOVERNOR: Siaya Deputy Governor James Okumbe.
Image: LAMEK BARAZA

Siaya residents say they need a manager and not a politician as governor in 2022.

ODM leader Raila Odinga, whose home is in Siaya, will be faced with a tough choice in the party nomination as Governor Cornel Ransanga's second term comes to an end. The incumbent is not eligible for another term. 

Naturally, politicians are lining up and Raila would want an ally with clout to run the county and influence regional politics in his favour.

Deputy Governor James Okumbe is the only professional and technocrat.

He is a professional consultant,.researcher, and academic in quantity surveying and construction and has practiced in Botswana and South Africa from 1996 to 2017. His work is published in Europe as well as Africa. 

Already, some clerics and residents have warned ODM leaders not to interfere in the primary and general election. They want them to listen to the people and put the people's interests first. Still, Raila is expected to provide 'guidance' on who should run the county. 

Other figures who have declared or are expected to run include Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, Siaya Senator James Orengo and former Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo.

Residents are already engaging in succession politics.

According to Patricia Apolly, the chairperson of Maendeleo ya Wanawake in the county, Siaya needs a manager, not a professional politician. She said the county needs someone to continue ongoing development projects.

If the BBI increases county allocations from 15 to 35 per cent, she said, Siaya will need a professional manager at the helm, like Okumbe.

She said that does not mean that people don't trust leaders like Wandayi, Orengo and Gumbo, but for the interest of the people of Siaya, it’s good to disassociate politics from managerial seats.

Apolly said that in 2013, residents had no idea about the position of governor and confusion led to the disqualification of good managers like Oburu Oginga after chaotic nominations.

"This time, we want to prevent such a scenario by choosing the people's governor as early as now,” she added.

Resident George Onyango said people want a sober-minded leader to carry on from where Rasanga left off. 

He said some leaders eyeing the governor's seat are not reachable but added that both Rasanga and Okumbe are very accessible to everyone.

"How will the people present their problems who leaders who are not reachable?" Onyango asked.

“We need a governor who will act as a symbol of unity, not someone who wants to advance their careers or settle scores."

He said some candidates clamouring for the job don't have the people's interests at heart.

(Edited by V. Graham)