MPs lead the pack in bid to succeed outgoing county chiefs in 2022

governor Wycliffe Oparanya
Kakamega County governor Wycliffe Oparanya during an interview at his offices in Nairobi on 13th March 2018. [Photo/David Gichuru]
Members of Parliament are angling to succeed governors from Western who are serving their last terms.

In Kakamega, lawmakers are strategising to take over from Governor Wycliffe Oparanya while in Busia, residents are divided whether to vote for a technocrat or politician.

Lugari MP Ayub Savula (ANC), Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala (ANC) and Shinyalu MP Justus Kizito Mugali (ODM) have publicly declared interest to take over the mantle from Mr Oparanya.

Others in the race are Ikolomani MP Benard Shinali (Jubilee), former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale (Ford-K) and Deputy Governor Philip Kutima.

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Business lady Mabel Muruli (Jubilee) who lost to Oparanya in the last elections could make a second stab at the governorship.

There is speculation that Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali will throw his hat in the ring for governorship.

“It is too early to say whether I will be a candidate or not; time will tell and people should be patient,” Mr Washiali said when contacted for comment.

Mr Kizito argued that given Oparanya’s development track record, it would be prudent to have a visionary leader to take over from him.

“Whoever aspires to fit in Oparanya’s shoes will have it rough because the bar has been set too high. I believe I can do better given the chance because I appeal to the people of Kakamega and have the capacity to deliver,” said the lawmaker.

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Mr Savula is banking on development projects he initiated in Lugari to win support for the seat.

“I have managed a national project in each one of the four wards in Lugari including a Diploma Teachers Training College, a university, Kenya Medical Training College and a national youth polytechnic at Maturu,” he said

The legislator said he has an upper hand in the race because of political experience and support of the youth across the county. “I am the senior most of all those eyeing the seat given my position as the ANC deputy party leader,” he said. “My focus would be to streamline sugarcane farming and ensure farmers are paid promptly,” he added.

2022 duel

Dr Khalwale indicated that it would be easier for him to succeed Oparanya having finished second in the August 8 elections.

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While the governor is fronting Prof Kutima as his suitable replacement, the changing political landscape will inform who will be the second Kakamega governor. Kutima has however, kept a low profile and remained a loyal servant to the governor.

The deputy governor stands a better chance of battling in the race as he is the ODM chairman in the county while his boss is the deputy party leader.

Senator Malala appears to be strategising to win a party ticket that will guarantee him a win in the race. Rivals, however, have termed the senator a political greenhorn yet to find his footing.

And in Busia, talks to succeed Governor Sospeter Ojaamong are gaining momentum.

MPs Geoffrey Odanga (Matayos-ODM), Sakwa Bunyasi (Nambale-ANC) and Florence Mutua (Women Representative-ODM) are salivating for the top county seat.

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Allies of Mr Bunyasi and Mr Odanga disclosed that they are laying strategies ahead of the 2022 duel. It is not yet clear if former Funyula MP Paul Otuoma will make a second stab at the governorship after losing in the last polls. While campaigning ahead of the August 8 polls the governor announced that he would support his deputy Moses Mulomi to succeed him.

The Sunday Standard has established that some professionals are keen to front Amb Denis Awori to become the second Busia governor.

Mr Awori is the chairman of Toyota Kenya Ltd. “He is the best bet for the position and his track record speaks for itself,” said the source privy to the plans. It is not clear if Eng Vincent Sidai will contest after he shelved his ambition for governorship last year after elders from the Teso community prevailed upon him to back Ojaamong. Sidai who vied on United Democratic Front party lost to Ojaamong (ODM) in 2013.

Last year seven aspirants came from the Luhya community while Teso produced one.?

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