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Wycliffe Oparanya ranked as most popular Luhya governor

By Ignatius Odanga | Published Mon, January 2nd 2017 at 00:05, Updated January 2nd 2017 at 00:09 GMT +3
Governor Wycliffe Oparanya

Governor Wycliffe Oparanya is the most popular of the five county chiefs in the larger Western region.

An opinion poll conducted by the University of Nairobi's School of Political Science and Public Administration, and another by Economic Studies, ranked Mr Oparanya at 71 per cent.

Some 2,650 respondents participated in the survey, which also showed that if elections were held today, Oparanya would retain his seat.

The governor has hinted that he will be seeking the presidency in 2022.

Speaking during the unveiling of the poll results at Bukhungu Stadium on Saturday, he asked local residents to consider re-electing him in August.

"You have seen and heard that I am the most popular governor in Western. So let us continue that way and of course, in 2022, after finishing my term as governor, I will try my luck in the race for the presidency."

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The results of the research were unveiled by Central Organisation of Trade Unions Kenya Secretary General Francis Atwoli.

But Senator Boni Khalwale, who has declared his interest in unseating Oparanya, dismissed the research, saying the governor was unpopular.

"If your (Mr Atwoli) intention is to help the unpopular Oparanya in the 2017 gubernatorial election, just say so," he said.

The outspoken senator said when the time came, the people would have a chance to elect their preferred governor and if elected, it would be his pleasure to work with the veteran trade unionist.

Other governors who featured in the opinion poll were Moses Akaranga of Vihiga County who emerged the second most popular in Western at 60 per cent.

Governor Patrick Khaemba of Trans Nzoia was third at 58 per cent followed by Bungoma's Ken Lusaka who garnered 53 per cent. Busia Governor Sospter Ojaamong came last at 45 per cent.

In attendance were legislators Ayub Savula (Lugari), John Bunyasi (Nambale), Alfred Agoi (Sabatia), Benjamin Andola (Khwisero), Yusuf Chanzu (Vihiga) and Charles Gemose (Hamisi).

Others were Paul Otuoma (Funyula) and Geoffrey Odanga (Matayos).

Security was beefed up both outside and inside the stadium, with police intensifying patrols in Kakamega town after reports emerged that there were plans to disrupt the meeting.

The study said Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi was the most popular politician in Western at 39 per cent, beating Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang'ula, former Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo and former Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende.

Wetang'ula and Oparanya tied at 30 per cent while the remaining candidates garnered 1 per cent.