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Millie Odhiambo backs woman to succed Raila in ODM

Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo has challenged female politicians to gear up to take the mantle of being the opposition leader in the country after Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga.

Ms Odhiambo said women leaders should not be left behind in the succession politics of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader.

This is after Mr Odinga expressed interest in being the African Union Commission chairman.

If he gets the lucrative role which is based in Addis Ababa, Mr Odinga will be required to relinquish his contribution to participating in active local politics.

President William Ruto and Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi are leading Mr Odinga’s quest to get the AU role.

Other people supporting the idea include Mr Odinga’s family led by his wife Ida Odinga.

At a meeting in Nyandiwa in Suba South, Ms Odinga said her husband has the freedom to seek employment from anywhere including in foreign countries.

“He is not the only Kenyan looking for opportunities in foreign countries,” she said.

Some people believe that the transition of Mr Odinga from active politics in the country to a continental job will dilute the role of opposition in the country.

But Ms Odinga told ODM supporters that the opposition has politicians who can equally take over the role of being the government’s watchdogs.

She said Mr Odinga groomed a lot of people who can take over from him.

Among them is ODM national chairman John Mbadi who she described as one of the people closest to her husband.

“Baba spent a lot of years training you (Mbadi). Do you still need more training or are you qualified to lead?” Ms Odinga said.

She continued “Baba’s heart rests on Mbadi” to indicate that Mr Odinga is considering handing over the opposition mantle to Mr Mbadi who, incidentally, serves as the ODM chairman.

But Ms Odhiambo said the role of being an opposition leader should not only be for men.

She said women can also lead from the same position as the former prime minister.

She spoke at the G7 pre-launch strategy, an initiative by seven female governors to increase the number of women politicians in the country.

Ms Odhiambo said though the former prime minister has not declared his intention to retire from politics, he said men must know that female politicians can as well take the role.

Some of the people who are considered to be strong enough and can take over from Mr Odinga include National Assembly Minority leader Opiyo Wandayi, Homa Bay Governor Gladys Wanga and Embakasi East MP Babu Owino.

Ms Odhiambo said women still face a challenge in leadership.

“Women leaders are expected to deliver more than men when they serve the same role,” she said.

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