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John Mbadi: What Raila promised me if he’d won the presidency

Seasoned politician Raila Odinga has different kinds of friends.

They include political, family, social, and personal friends.

Each category has a different number of people even though political friends appear as the majority.

This group is known to approach him when they wish to serve their personal interests and seek elective positions.

Most of them were seen during campaigns in the run-up to the August 2022 polls with some reported to have disappeared into thin air after Mr Odinga lost to President William Ruto.

Others like former Kisii governor James Ongwae and women rep Janet Ongera have formally ended their friendship with Mr Odinga and are rumoured to be warming up to President Ruto.

Mr Odinga’s best and personal friends are the least.

They include Orange Democratic Movement National Chairman John Mbadi who is said to be among think tanks of Mr Odinga, who previously served as the country’s prime minister.

Mbadi owes Mr Odinga his loyalty considering he’s been saved multiple times by the Azimio leader when his political career faced obstacles both at his rural home in Homa Bay and at the national level.

Mr Mbadi narrated how he faced difficulties in politics on different occasions before Mr Odinga intervened because of the bond they share.

He is currently a nominated MP, a position he landed after voluntarily dropping his bid for Homa Bay governor seat.

“Raila promised to make me a cabinet secretary if he won the presidential seat. But someone also put my name on the nomination list as a contingency plan and it has saved me from being a political orphan,” he said.

He previously served as the legislator for Suba South for three-five year terms, since 2007.

Mabdi’s career in politics has been faced with hardships including facing hostility from his community during the election period.

He thanks Mr Odinga for his support during the tough times.

“Our friendship began when I was a student leader at the university. We formed a movement to challenge the late president Daniel Moi when Raila wanted to contest for a parliamentary seat,” Mr Mbadi said.

During the time, Mr Odinga had come out of exile and joined Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (FORD) which he used to vie for Langata parliamentary seat and won.

According to Mr Mbadi the victory of the ODM leader is partly owed to the efforts his team put in campaigning for the former prime minister.

“Ever since our friendship has remained strong. I believe it will not end because we have a long political journey ahead of us,”Mr Mbadi said.

When he first got to parliament 15 years ago, Mr Mbadi landed a job at Mr Odinga’s office during the grand coalition government as a token of appreciation for their friendship.

He was named an assistant to the prime minister.

Mr Mbadi was later appointed as the ODM chairman, a position he has held for eight years.

“I have also been a minority leader at the National Assembly for five years. My career progression would have not been possible without Raila,” he said.

Mr Mbadi was headed for a powerful position as a cabinet secretary if Mr Odinga won the election.

His professional background as an accountant would have made him the finance cabinet secretary and it is the reason he moved a step back towards the governor seat.

Nevertheless, he still landed in parliament which he argued is equally a powerful seat.

The ODM chairman was this week elected as the chairman of the Public Accounts and Investment Committee at the National Assembly.

No one opposed his election.

Mr Odinga described the ODM chairman as one of his loyal foot soldiers.

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