As the first person from the lakeside to serve in Kiambu County Assembly, Cyrus Omondi Odhiambo calls upon the public to shun divisive politics of tribalism
Lenox Sengre PeopleDailyKE
Cyrus Omondi Odhiambo majestically strolls in Kahawa Wendani estate. He stops to exchange pleasantries with locals here and there as they go about their businesses. Some greet him in the native Kikuyu language “Wimwega Mheshimiwa,” to which he replies, “Nikwega,” laughingly.
Omondi, who is the newly-elected Kahawa Wendani Member of County Assembly (MCA), would be remembered as the first Luo to build his political career in an area largely considered to be dominated by communities from Central Kenya.
The 35-year-old is also the first from the lakeside region to serve in the Kiambu County Assembly. On August 8, this year, it was a defining moment for Omondi, who has been trying his luck in politics since 2007, as voters from unlikely quarters queued to elect him.
He rode on Jubilee Party ticket after ditching Orange Democratic Party. “I am an outgoing person and the residents have a lot of trust in my leadership skills. So, when the residents advised me to ditch my love for ‘Orange’ to join the popular party in the area, I weighed my options and decided to cross over to my supporters.
A move I do not regret,” the father of two adds. His popularity rose quickly and could be felt anytime President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto visited Ruiru constituency during their campaigns.
The vocal and aggressive Omondi was always among those who would receive the two leaders. “President Kenyatta was so happy for me that when I won, he personally called to congratulate me. I am always excited to share a platform with the President and his deputy, whenever they visit our constituency,” says the jolly MCA.
The youthful politician further attributes his victory to his fellow youths who formed majority of the votes he got. They preferred him to his closest competitor, the incumbent, Michael Waweru.
Waweru suffered double defeat at the hands of Omondi, who trounced him in the party primaries causing Waweru to ditch the Jubilee Party to run as an Independent candidate. His mother also would offer a word of prayer everyday.
Omondi considers these prayers as the epitome of his success. “My mum ceaselessly prayed for me. She would recite a long prayer dedicating me to the most powerful hand of the Lord. Also, she helped me get women votes by selling my vision to her customers and fellow women,” he adds.
But this success is a turning point for Omondi who hasn’t had it easy in life. He was raised in Kahawa Barracks where his father, a senior sergeant in the military, lived until he died in 1994. After his father passed on, Omondi’s mother, became the sole breadwinner for her five children and had to relocate from the barracks to Kahawa Wendani estate. “My mum started selling fish to eke out a living.
Something she does to date,” he notes. He attended Moi Forces Academy for his primary education. However, for his secondary education, Omondi had to walk from their home in Kahawa Wendani to Kamiti Day Secondary School where his mother had secured an admission for him due to subsidised tuition fee, as she could not raise money for a prestigious school.
After he sat for his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) in 2005, Omondi became actively involved in community work, as if to find root for what was awaiting him in the political arena. He further did a Diploma in Sports Science at Kenyatta University.
“My love for scouting influenced my decision to join various initiatives including volunteering for grassroots groups,” he says. However, he has vast plans for his academic growth. He says that he wants to go back to school.
“You know I’m a Luo and I must acquire attractive papers to pursue other goals in future,” he laughs. Omondi dismissed the current political animosity amongst the two major tribes. He says politics of ethnicity are outdated and should be shunned by all.
“I owe my win to Kikuyus. They didn’t vote for me based on my tribe. But they loved my manifesto and believed in me. This should be the way to go,” he adds.