Ojodeh was gifted in building bridges across political divide
Posted Monday, June 11 2012 at 22:30
After 18 years as the MP for Ndhiwa constituency, the curtains came down tragically on the life of the Internal Security assistant minister Orwa Ojodeh. Read (Ministers Saitoti, Ojode killed in chopper crash)
His authoritative voice and the finality with which he handled issues earned him the nickname Sirkal, Dholuo for government.
Despite coming from Nyanza, which was largely seen as an anti-establishment region, Mr Ojodeh has always been close to the centre of power, even when he was a member of the now defunct National Development Party (NDP).
This access also gave the Maranda High School old boy a unique ability to build bridges across the political divide.
This was demonstrated one day in 2008 as the country still struggled to move on after President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga signed the power-sharing deal that put the latter in charge of ministers.
Some senior ministers from the Party of National Unity, including Ms Martha Karua and Mr Amos Kimunya, were openly hostile to the fact that Mr Odinga had become their boss.
Friends across the board
Then one afternoon, Ms Karua and Mr Kimunya had a most unexpected lunch with Mr Odinga.
The lunch date, which helped to thaw the icy relations between the adversaries, was organised by Mr Ojodeh.
“I am Mr Fix-It for both friend and foe,” Mr Ojodeh once told the Nation.
“I participated in the NDP-Kanu merger and after the Serena talks I was able to organise the lunch because I have friends across the board.”
His friendship and network was underlined when his father Michael Ojodeh died in June last year.
President Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and United Republican Party leader William Ruto came for the funeral, a gathering that had not been witnessed at the time because of the political animosity in the country then.
But colleagues in ODM accused him of being a PNU mole or trying to create an alternative centre of power in Luo Nyanza to rival Mr Odinga.
Mr Ojodeh always brushed off such criticism, saying, ODM needed to build bridges across the political divide.
“Raila is my mentor and friend. How can I move away from my mentor?” he countered.
Mr Ojodeh was first elected to Parliament in 1994 following the defection of Mr Tom Obondo from Ford Kenya to Kanu.
This is the second time for Mr Ojodeh to be involved in a helicopter crash. In 2009, he sustained injuries after a police helicopter crash-landed in Kapsabet, killing a man.