Siaya Senator James Orengo has sparked speculation about his intentions as his moves and public pronouncements put him at cross purposes with NASA leader Raila Odinga.
The brilliant senior counsel and long-time Raila ally is strongly opposed to the truce and cooperation deal between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila — he had not been privy to the handshake plotting.
He also quickly assumed the Senate Minority leadership from Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula, defying Raila’s urging against the move.
Raila is said to have spoken to Orengo several times before the senators removed Wetang’ula.
He is said to have warned Orengo that toppling Wetang’ula would destabilise ODM’s base in Bungoma. That may be coming to pass; Wetang’ula has sworn revenge and said the NASA “divorce will be noisy and messy.”
It is Orengo’s vociferous opposition to the peace pact, however, that has people wondering what is going on and why.
On Sunday, Orengo again publicly condemned the partnership agreement — and by implication Raila — saying it did not prevent Miguna Miguna’s harassment and forced deportation.
“Uhuru has to be held accountable now,” he told reporters. “Any engagement with him in any process would be an act of impunity because he is condoning blatant and brazen defiance of court orders…The handshake rises or falls on the pedestal of the rule of law, and if the State is out to undermine the rule of law, then it has no basis. The joint statement by the two also talked about rights and respect for the rule of law,” the senator said.
Orengo and others called for suspension of the pact until grievances were addressed and if not, then Raila would be party to any injustices committed by Jubilee.
The Siaya senator was a long-time Raila confidant and the two frequently consulted privately about important political matters.
It is significant that Raila kept Orengo in the dark about the talks with Uhuru.
This might indicate the NASA leader did not trust the senator to give him sound advice or possibly would not keep the secret. He is probably bitter about the exclusion, insiders say.
Since the deal, Orengo has also marshalled strong opposition, while other leaders have encouraged Raila to pursue cooperation while remaining committed to electoral justice and other Opposition issues.