- In December last year, some of the aspirants bankrolled sporting activities and charitable events across the county in a bid to popularise themselves including raiding church functions in their quest to popularize themselves as better compared to their competitors.
Governor Oparanya has already endorsed his deputy to succeed him, but it remains to be seen whether the remarkable development and achievements they have secured across the county will in any way catapult Prof. Kutima to succeed his boss
The succession race for Governor of Kakamega County, the largest and most populous in the former Western Province has taken centre stage. Emerging facts indicate that several sitting and former political leaders have unleashed their political war chests in efforts to replace current governor Wycliffe A. Oparanya.
Those who have unleashed their political power play have reportedly started traversing the county to popularize their candidature as the country heads into the 2022 general elections.
Those who have shown interest in the seat are the current Deputy Governor Philip Kutima, Kakamega County Senator Cleophas Malala, former Senator Boni Khalwale, former Butere MP Amukowa Anangwe, Lugari MP Ayub Savula, County Assembly Clerk Laban Atemba and Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO) Chief Executive Officer Fernandes Barasa. Others left out in the expected bruising battle for the seat are lawyer Michael Osundwa, Leonard Shimaka and Sammy Omukoko, and as time goes it is expected others join the fray.
Kakamega County has the largest number of constituencies compared to her neighbour’s like Busia, Bungoma and even Trans Nzoia in the former Rift Valley province for which the aspirants must traverse to convince or sway voters to their favour as the D-day thunders closer.
Indeed, considering the high stakes involved, the lucrative nature and power of the highly coveted position, political analysts and pundits are already predicting a bruising political battle for those who have already jumped into the bandwagon in the fight for the county’s governorship – it remains to be seen who will emerge to fit in the outgoing Oparanya’s boots.
That is because Oparanya of all governors from that region is reputed and credited to have used his tenure in office tremendously well by transforming infrastructure, electricity water supplies and general developments right from the County’s centre of power in Kakamega town to every other town, markets and shopping centres.
In December last year, some of the aspirants bankrolled sporting activities and charitable events across the county in a bid to popularise themselves including raiding church functions in their quest to popularize themselves as better compared to their competitors.
It has emerged that sitting Governor Oparanya has already endorsed his deputy, Prof Kutima, to succeed him, but it remains to be seen whether the remarkable development and achievements they have secured across the county will in any way catapult Prof. Kutima to succeed his boss.
The Professor is indeed on public record that over the years he has built a solid foundation throughout the county which puts him in a better position to bag that coveted seat compared to his political rivals gunning for the same seat.
The Governor, at a meeting in Malava Sub- County, was once widely quoted by media outlets saying: “I have built a solid foundation and developed a blueprint on how the county should be developed after I exit office in 2022. It’s only my Deputy Governor Philip Kutima who understands what we have planned for Kakamega and therefore he is the best candidate to succeed me as governor.”
It so happens that Malava is Kutima’s home turf but it remains to be seen whether he has already secured a sound and solid political base before traversing to other sub-counties to seduce and win a majority of voters to his side against his competitors. It is also a fact that Oparanya who is one of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) deputy party leaders won the seat on that party’s ticket.
Opranya was also recently again widely quoted in a large section of media outlets declaring that: “I have worked with Kutima for the last eight years. He is my great friend. I will support him in 2022, but I encourage him to go out there and speak for himself.”
It has emerged that the stranglehold ODM had in the region, particularly among the Luhyia community has significantly eroded and that erosion is continuing relentlessly.