Orengo is always lurking in the shadows wherever Raila Odinga is
The history of James Orengo and Raila Odinga is not chequered. It is has been a one sided relationship designed to benefit only one man and his commercial interests.
In the 1990s, Orengo triggered Raila’s first defection from Ford-K to NDP when he opposed Raila’s ambition to be Ford-K party leader. Jaramogi had died, and Orengo robustly opposed Raila at every turn, siding with the corrupt Wamalwa Kijana to mislead the vibrant Ford-K party that Jaramogi had painstakingly built and held together.
When Raila dissolved NDP to join KANU, Orengo bitterly protested and branded Raila a sell out. He even bizarrely claimed then, that Raila and ex-President Moi were jealous of his rising political star and were plotting to assassinate him. Orengo was by then a tool of dark forces financing him and his party SDP.
In 2002, there was a succession election in Kenya. Moi was retiring and Uhuru was poised to take over from him. Raila and other leaders defected from KANU and formed LDP. Against all expectations, Orengo made a disastrous run for president as a puppet of the dark forces, against the NARC national movement founded by Raila which backed Kibaki. The result was an overwhelming win for Kibaki’s and an embarrassing loss for Orengo.
In 2005, the Wako constitution draft was defeated in a national referendum with Raila leading the NO side and Kibaki leading g the YES side. Orengo was desperate to return to mainstream politics and endeared himself to ODM after abondonj g his dead SDP. By then, Raila was working with progressive Luo brains like the late Odhiambo Mbai. Everything was smooth and Raila was poised to be elected president in 2007.
Orengo who was still acting as Chairman of SDP in 2007, made all attempts to become relevant in those elections but failed. He however managed to rig himself into ODM and managed to be elected as MP after a massive scare by political upstart Steve Mwanga. It took Raila’s intervention to save Orengo from certain defeat.
The 2007 presidential elections came and ended in a stalemate. However everyone knows Raila won those elections. Mbai had by then been brutally killed. Raila decided to allow Orengo to be part of the ODM negotiation team at Serena Talks chaired by the late Koffi Annan. The result of these talks ended heavily against Raila.
Although Raila won those elections, Kibaki retained full presidential powers with Raila left with a powerless Prime Minister position, and supervising a mongrel government in which he was a mere figurehead, without powers to hire and fire. Thanks to the brainwork of James Orengo who was outplayed and outmanoeuvred by Martha Karua who was acting for Kibaki’s on the PNU side.
When Raila was robbed of the 2013. presidential election and consequently lost the supreme court petition, Orengo and band of Luo allies led a chorus for the opening of a new chapter in Luo leadership. Together with Any Namwamba and others, they held successive rallies all over the country alluding to a new opposition movement. They were effectively writing Raila’s political obituary.
In the period 2012-2018, Orengo monopolised all opposition legal work. He was lead counsel in all cases the Raila-led opposition launched against the Jubilee government. He never even.ince provided pro-bono services. His fee notes to the CORD secretariat accumulated to hundreds of millions.
But perhaps more intriguing, Orengo abandoned road transport and started chartering helicopters in his village trips. Roads were virtually non-existent in the Ugenya constituency which Orengo had represented in parliament for more than three decades.
Like his friend Ababu Namwamba, Orengo quickly built a palatial residence in the village complete with helipad. From then on Orengo was always arriving at CORD events in helicopters. In that period, the opposition lost several by-elections to Jubilee and it was not lost on observers that Raila’s ODM had been infiltrated by state moles who were leaning critical strategy to the government.
Outside running for presidency, another of Raila Odinga’s biggest project was the Okoa Kenya constitutional amendment campaign. With meagre resources, Raila managed to galvanise the country into a massive movement. Of course, James Orengo and Johnstone Muthama were the CORD management Committee Co-chairs and who had full responsibility to manage the Okoa Kenya signature collection.
When the signatures were opened and analysed by IEBC, it left the entire CORD leadership embarrassed and crestfallen. How could a mass movement like Okoa Kenya fail to collect a mere one million signatures minimum threshold required by IEBC?
Orengo had once again played Raila and left him deeply ridiculed in the eyes of the public. Despite a multi-million budget, Orengo managed to make Raila a global laughing stock with the Okoa Kenya constitutional amendment bid.
Who can forget how in 2016 Orengo then acting as co-chair of the Joint Select Committee for selecting a new IEBC was bribed at Windsor Hotel to allow clauses that would weaken Raila’s hand in the forthcoming elections?
Although he denied it later, the Siaya Senator openly conspired to disenfranchise NASA, resulting to Uhuru retaining powers to appoint all IEBC commissioners. The end result was the massively rigged elections against Raila Odinga. All because Orengo allowed himself to be compromised to facilitate Jubilee to plant rogue commissioners in preparation for a rigged election. How much was Orengo paid to betray the dreams of millions of Kenyans? Our source say it was Sh300 million.
Recently, in a yet another secret collision financed by DP Ruto, Orengo summoned several NASA MPs to a hotel in Karen, paid and whipped them so they could vote against the all important VAT bill and the Sugar Scandal Report in parliament.
The opposition had held parliamentary group meetings, which Orengo boycotted, and agreed to support these two crucial bills in the house. The VAT bill had to be lite forced in by the speaker while the sugar report spectacularly failed.
It’s a continuing collaboration where you find Tanga Tanga members treating the Siaya Senator with utmost respect.
Together, these calculating Tanga Tanga politicians remain united against the historic handshake between Raila and Uhuru.
But Raila and Uhuru continue to build a wonderful rapport. Is it because James Orengo was kept away from the deal? In appointig lawyer Paul Mwangi’s to lead and co-chair the Building Bridges Initiative, did Raila finally come to the realisation that Orengo was an impediment who had for years been riding on his coattails to accumulate illicit wealth at his expense?
Time will tell.