Winnie Odinga, Charlene Ruto Considered Next Political Enigmas After Their Fathers
President William Ruto’s daughter, Charlene, and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s daughter, Winnie, dominated the news cycle in recent weeks following their engagements in political and public affairs.
While the duo have stayed in their father’s shadows growing up, many believe that their recent public engagements could be a strategy to succeed their parents as kingpins.
Since her father’s inauguration on September 13, Charlene hit the headlines with her county tours. From being hosted by several governors, including Cecil Mbarire of Embu and Patrick Ole Ntuntu of Narok, to flying to Morocco.
A collage of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga (left) and President William Ruto (right)
Raila Odinga/ William Ruto
Notably, she stated that she had her father’s blessing in her public engagements.
Additionally, she attended a number of conferences where her statements elicited nationwide debate. A case in point was revealing that she sold smokie pasua at Daystar University and was running the Office of the First Daughter.
Could her strategy be intentional? Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke, political analyst, Mark Bichache, affirmed that Charlene’s actions were indeed intentional.
“No one creates an office or staffs it without intention. She said the office is privately managed, but you cannot term a public office as private.
“The first family, lady gentleman are public because they exist by dint by the presidency of someone,” he stated
On the other hand, Governance expert, Dr Fred Ogola, opined that the first daughter wasn’t at fault for creating the office unless her actions were sinister.
“If she is not doing anything that is against the law or is misappropriating funds then she is creating value,” he stated.
In an interview with Nation, Lawyer Dunstan Omari added that Charlene should be encouraged to continue with philanthropy. However, if the office were to be public, the government ought to advertise for the position after its created constitutionally.
“The Constitution only recognises the Office of the First Lady,” Omari explained.
Ida Odinga during a thanksgiving ceremony in Homa Bay on December 11, 2022.
Since the infamous handshake between Raila and former President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2018, Winnie has maintained an active presence in her father’s political engagements. She was an integral member of the Azimio la Umoja campaigns.
Consequently, her work and presence in the campaigns saw her elected to the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) amidst disgruntlement over her nomination from Azimio and Kenya Kwanza camps.
Bichache held a similar view to Winnie, expressing that her nomination to EALA was also intentional to succession politics.
Will Kenyans Embrace another Dynasty?
Nonetheless, the analyst intimated that the duo would face resistance on their move to inherit their fathers owing to the dynasty debate witnessed in the August 9 elections.
“If Kenyans had not gone through the conversation of dynasties vs hustlers, they would not have been so sensitive as they are today.
“It is because we went through a whole campaign where a dynastic leadership was looked down upon,” he stated.
EALA MP Winnie Odinga and former President Uhuru Kenyatta at a past Azimio rally.
While Charlene had not faced stiff opposition, her counterpart, Winnie, could have had to battle it out with disgruntled former allies of the ODM boss who seek to create their own political path.
Already, a section of them was criticised by Ida Odinga, who stated that they were ungrateful in their quest to succeed Raila.
“The same politicians would wake up and come to my home for breakfast, lunch and supper and even frequented my office.
“They pretended to be close to us but now have the guts to insult the Odinga family,” she stated at a past event.