By The Star
Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga is seeking Cord leader Raila Odinga’s daughter Rosemary as his 2017 running mate, the Star has learnt. He is facing stiff competition from Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo.
“The governor has sent emissaries to Rosemary to try and convince her to buy the idea. What I cannot authoritatively tell you is whether she has bought or rejected the proposal,” said a source close to Rasanga. The source said Rasanga has scheduled a meeting with Rosemary in Nairobi later this week. Rasanga and Rosemary did not confirm or deny the arrangement. They did not pick calls or respond to SMSs from the Star.
The source said the governor is looking for a woman running mate from Bondo, where his current deputy, Ouma Onyango, comes from. Rosemary comes from Bondo but is married in Lwanda constituency, Vihiga county. Onyango has apparently fallen out with Rasanga and the Star has established he will not be Rasanga’s running mate in 2017 unless Raila intervenes.
“I have heard there are such plans (to name Rosemary as Rasanga’s running mate). The governor is at liberty to do that,” Onyango said. He said if Rasanga replaces him with Rosemary, then he may opt to run for governor. “Who says I cannot run for governor. If that is the option then I can only say we meet at the ballot. But let us wait and cross the bridge when we come to it,” Onyango said.
Kisumu Deputy Governor Ruth Odinga, Rosemary’s aunt, said Rasanga had wanted Rosemary to be his running mate. “To me that is something already stale because I heard of it some two or three months ago. I am not aware whether the proposal is still alive,” Ruth said on the phone yesterday. “I doubt whether Rosemary can contest for any elective seat in Siaya. If she must join politics then she is likely to vie in Nairobi.”
Rosemary has been said to be planning to vie for the Kibra parliamentary seat against incumbent Ken Okoth and Raila’s former aide Eliud Owalo. Last year she crisscrossed the constituency mobilising people to register as voters in large numbers but has of late developed cold feet. Her late brother Fidel Odinga, who was a possible Raila heir had shown interest in the same seat. Rosemary is now viewed as Raila’s heir after Fidel’s death. Sources close to Raila intimated he may reject Rasanga’s arrangement.