Orengo’s vivid explanation came just days after the party announced on April 1, that Raila had submitted papers seeking to be the ODM flag bearer only to later recant the statement, saying it was an April Fool’s Day prank.
Speaking during an interview on April 7, Orengo stated that the party could not forcefully put Raila on the ticket if he had no intention of running in 2022.
“We can’t force him (Odinga) to run. The decision lies with the ODM leader himself,” he explained.
Orengo added that the party was keen on settling on a presidential candidate in preparation for the 2022 elections.
“I have on several occasions stated that I personally would wish for Raila to run for the presidency, but again, that decision is his to make,” he noted.
The Senate Minority leader also responded to claims that the party used the April Fool’s gimmick to test the waters for Raila’s candidature.
“The whole debacle is a storm in a teacup (caused excitement about a trivial matter). There were other pranks that were carried on that day for example one that Obama was coming to Kenya, But the ODM prank is one that got the most attention,” he stated.
The Orange Democratic Party is currently mulling over the possibility of re-opening the application for the presidential ticket to accommodate party leader Raila Odinga.
ODM’s director of elections Junet Mohammed revealed that the party will soon convene a National Executive Council, NEC, to make a final decision on the matter that has caused confusion among party supporters.
The party has since received only two applications for the presidential party tickets – Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya and another from his Mombasa counterpart Ali Hassan Joho, both of whom are deputy party leaders.