Oparanya denies endorsing Khalwale for 2027 Kakamega gubernatorial bid

Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa (left) and ODM deputy party leader Wycliffe Oparanya during the burial of Mwalimu Haggai Isiongo in Butere. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Deputy party leader Wycliffe Oparanya has now denied recent claims that he endorsed Senator Boni Khalwale for his gubernatorial bid in 2027.

 This comes after the duo held a press conference in January seemingly declaring support and ending their long-time enmity.

The two reaffirmed their commitment to unity and the resolution to put aside their disagreements to advance the development of the county, Khalwale told Journalists that he had come to seek the support of Oparanya to become governor in 2027.

On Saturday during the burial of Mwalimu Haggai Isiongo in Marenyo-Shianda ward, Butere constituency; the burial was attended by Governor Fernandes Barasa, MP Tindi Mwale, Woman MP Elsie Muhanda among other leaders, Oparanya said he has no control over what media reports denying that he endorsed Khalwale stating it was an open meeting.

“When Khalwale visited me it was an open meeting where he started by recognizing that I am the senior leader in Kakamega and revealed that he will be vying in 2027. He never asked for any support because we are in different parties,” Oparanya said.

However, in a previous event attended by a section of leaders from the county, Khalwale, and Oparanya buried the hatchet at the former governor’s Emabole home.

“Former Governor Oparanya and I have agreed to work together for the sake of development in this county. We will contact all shades of this county, including MCAs and MPs, to ensure that Kakamega succeeds. When Kakamega succeeds, the vision I shared with Oparanya in 2013 will also succeed,” Khalwale said.

During the meeting between Oparanya and Khalwale, the former governor recalled facing rebellion from Senator Khalwale during his ten-year tenure as Governor.

“He kept me on my toes to deliver, and because he did so, I believe I could deliver. This is what a Senator is supposed to do. In politics, there are no permanent enemies or permanent friends; what matters is the interest,” Oparanya said.

A few weeks later, Oparanya received a call that the senator had delivered several goodies to his rural home in Kakamega.

“I was in Nairobi when I was called and told Khalwale had brought a cow to my homestead and when I called him he said the last time he visited he came empty-handed. I don’t have cows so I told my PA to go and keep it at his home,” he added.

On his part, Governor Barasa who is Kakamega ODM Chairman denied claims that he was not on good terms with his predecessor Oparanya.

 “My party leader Raila Odinga is on his way to the AU Commission chairmanship and the only person who is most suitable to take over as the party leader of ODM is Wycliffe Oparanya. I have been walking around supporting him, surely can I drum up support for someone I am not on good terms with?” Barasa paused.

Barasa and Khalwale have had long-running differences on the issues of management usage of county funds, and running of the devolved unit.

 Barasa has consistently termed Khalwale as a selfish leader, a non-performer with no track record to show to the people of Kakamega County.

He faults Khalwale for opposing the additional allocation of Sh22 billion as an equitable share from the national government where Kakamega lost a Sh1 billion that Barasa says would have uplifted lives in Kakamega while Khalwale has accused Barasa of failing to take Kakamega to greater heights.

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