Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya has asked Deputy President William Ruto and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga to support a Luhya candidate in the 2022 presidential elections.
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Mr Oparanya (pictured) said the region supported the two to ascend to senior Government positions and the time had now come for them to support a candidate from Western region for the top seat.
Speaking at the homecoming event for Lurambi MP Titus Khamala on Saturday, the governor said a Luhya must succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2022.
He said the region could not continue to support politicians who, after ascending to power, forgot the "Mulembe nation".
“Western region supported Mr Ruto to be the first Deputy President in 2013 and 2017, and the time has come for him to shelve his presidential ambitions and support one of us,” said Oparanya.
"The Mulembe nation supported Raila in 1997, 2007, 2013 and 2017 wholeheartedly. I'm his deputy party leader and the time has come for him (Raila) to rally his supporters behind us in 2022 since I have been a faithful servant to him.”
Besides Oparanya, Amani National Congress party leader Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya's Moses Wetang’ula have also declared their interest in the presidency in 2022.
According to Oparanya, Kakamega has not presented a presidential candidate since independence and it is time for the vast county to sit at the negotiating table to decide who should be the flag bearer for the presidency in 2022.
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The governor said the region had been unable to get to the top seat since all the leaders who had shown an interest in it had been "back-stabbed" by their fellow tribesmen.
He said since the death of Vice President Kijana Wamalwa (under the NARC regime), in 2003, Western Kenya had never spoken in one voice and this had given other communities leeway to ride on their divisions to ascend to power.
“We have never voted as a bloc and that is why we have failed to ascend to the top seat. When Mudavadi vied in 2013, we didn’t support him and in 2017, we voted for both Jubilee Party and NASA (National Super Alliance) presidential candidates. We must learn from our mistakes and move forward,” Oparanya said.
He acknowledged that even if the region voted as a bloc interested candidates could not ascend to power without votes from other parts of the country.
“By declaring an interest in the presidency, I am not in competition with my senior brothers, Mudavadi and Wetang’ula. They are eyeing the same seat but before that we must unite and talk as one voice then seek Ruto and Raila’s support."