Cyprian Awiti, governor with unquestioned loyalty to Raila Odinga, ODM - Breaking Kenya News

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Cyprian Awiti, governor with unquestioned loyalty to Raila Odinga, ODM

 

Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti is arguably the most loyal lieutenants of ODM leader Raila Odinga after the late area Senator Gerald Otieno Kajwang'.

Mr Awiti, popularly referred to as 'Akuba,' a Swahili corruption of 'Mkubwa' - meaning mheshimiwa (Honourable), has on many occasions demonstrated his unequivocal loyalty to Mr Odinga that has made his critics label him a "sycophant."

But the man from Mawego in Karachuonyo, Homa Bay County, believes he owes his political success to the ODM leader and as such, must strive to make him happy and comfortable even if it means doing the unthinkable.

Loyalty

Even though there is no measure for loyalty and passion as the late senator Kajwang’ once said in Parliament; “there is no passionometer to measure once passion for a job,” Mr Awiti has made several moves that depict passion and loyalty.

Mr Awiti, 69, has perfected the art of kneeling down while conferring with Mr Odinga in various functions, a move he says is "simply submission" to his boss and not an act of sycophancy as viewed by opponents.

One of the governor's allies once told Nation.Africa that they even suspect one side of the knee area of the governor's pairs of trousers could be worn out compared to the other one due to his easy moves to put it down while consulting Mr Odinga at political functions.

In his early days as governor of Homa Bay before legal amendments were enacted on which state officers should fly the flag on their official vehicles, Mr Awiti could not attend any function presided over by the former Prime Minister with a flag on his official car.

Father of devolution

This, he argued, would be tantamount to disrespecting Mr Odinga, whom he holds as the father of devolution.

“This man Raila has sacrificed a lot for the nation. He has a huge following in the country and commands a lot of respect globally as a democrat and a reformer whom I can't dare insubordinate," Mr Awiti quipped.

Mr Samuel Owida, a former information officer in Mr Awitis's office describes the Homa Bay county chief as one who takes instructions from Mr Odinga and "implements them to the last detail and even beyond."

Cyprian Awiti

Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti dancing during Lake Region Economic Bloc Summit meeting in Siaya County on January 15, 2020. Looking on are Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and his Siaya counterpart Cornel Rasanga. 

Tonny Omondi | Nation Media Group

"His loyalty is always in his speeches like when he said that in his succession, it is Raila who will instruct him on whom to hand over the key for Homa Bay governorship which he has safely kept."

In early 2015, Mr Awiti led a delegation of leaders from Homa Bay County to Opoda farm in Bondo to request Mr Odinga to contest the senatorial by-election following the late senator Mr Kajwang's demise, an offer which the ODM chief later declined.

Like Mr Odinga's elder brother Dr Oburu Oginga would always ask "is it true that this guy as you say is loyal to our party and cause? What does he say or do about us and the party in our absence or on camera?"

Loyalty

Mr Awiti has indeed demonstrated a high level of loyalty to Mr Odinga and ODM.

No wonder he secured the ODM ticket for re-election in 2017 regardless of the huge demonstrations staged in Homa Bay.

Known for his stylistic dances, ODM deputy party leaders Hassan Joho and Wycliffe Oparanya, both governors of Mombasa and Kakamega respectively once quipped that Mr Awiti would win the chairmanship of the entertainment committee at the Council of Governors if it so existed.

As the late Homa Bay Senator Otieno Kajwang’ once said; “if we doubt you, if we suspect that you are going to bed with our opponents, we will not allow you to hold any position in this party (ODM),” Mr Awiti has no doubt been tested to this.

The threshold of loyalty, as the late senator put it, was too high in that just a suspicion can make you lose a post in the Orange Party, but Mr Awiti has lived up to this.

The governor is trusted and is not known for trading with his known loyalty to personal gains as other politicians would do.

As things stand today, a number of outgoing going governors are already jostling for spaces ahead of 2022 election but Mr Awiti is not keen to push for any position in the realignments or seeking for endorsement from Mr Odinga for any position, but waiting a directive from his boss which he says will “obey and execute gladly.”

The late Kajwang’ once stated the barometer that measures one's qualifications to be considered for a party's position, "loyalty, faithfulness and fidelity."

Mr Awiti has all the above and will never disappoint or question anything both in public and even in private where whatever he says can be relayed to the powers that be.

According to Dr Oburu Oginga's doctrine, what Mr Awiti does or says in their absence is same as in their presence.

During the burial of former assistant minister  Owigo Olang' in Nyatike and Nyanza BBI consultative meeting in Kisumu, Mr Awiti  declared war on dissidents in Luo Nyanza who would not toe the party line saying they would crush such characters

"Wabiro nyoni...tutakukanyaga... You've to be clear in Raila’s cause…we are not in this for a child's play".

He has always said that to him and others, the party is Mr Odinga and not otherwise.

Clinching ODM ticket during party primaries for his re-election in 2017 was a forgone conclusion because he has never been doubted by the party supremo.

Mobilising people

His undoubted loyalty to Mr Odinga may influence his succession should he be consulted.

Long before he would seek elective post in 2013 to become governor, Mr Awiti was ever championing Mr Odinga’s cause and in three major occasions, 2005 referendum, 2007 presidential campaigns and 2010 referendum played a leading role in mobilising people to vote in line with the ODM leader’s dream.

Whenever he is given a responsibility to oversee preparations for a function to be presided over by Mr Odinga, he will always do it to the best by giving it a hands on attention to details.

"His undisputed loyalty, fidelity and faithfulness to Raila Odinga is not because of what he earns out of it but what the people get will influence his succession," says Mr Owida.    BY DAILY NATION   

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