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Doomed and shackled up, Malala hopes for 'bigger things' ahead

 Cleophas Malala. He conceded defeat to Fernandes Barasa in the Kakamega governorship race on Tuesday. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

In 2013, Cleophas Malala tried his luck in politics and won the Mahiakalo ward seat on an ODM ticket. He then jumped ship to ANC in 2017 and bagged the Kakamega Senate seat.

On Tuesday when he conceded defeat to Fernandes Barasa in the Kakamega governorship race, Malala hinted that he was geared up for bigger things, but only if UDA leader William Ruto will be president.

"Apart from seeking the governorship, my other aim and that of Kenya Kwanza in Kakamega was to weed out ODM. We have tried and Ruto got 160,000 votes from Kakamega alone, that is worth a reward in his government," said Malala.

Asked if Ruto has promised him any rewards, Malala said: "I will not divulge at the moment but be assured it will be something big."

He said much as it was painful to lose, he will give the governorship race another try in 2027.

"We did all we could but things did not work for us. We will not quit," he said.

In his concession speech, Malala said he was available for consultation by the winner for the good of the people of Kakamega.

It is not clear if that meant he was ready to take up a county job. He is also from Kenya Kwanza, the coalition that had agreed to share 30 per cent of its power with the Mulembe Nation should the region deliver 70 per cent of its votes (1,832,202 votes) to Ruto.

The region, under ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya's Moses Wetang'ula, failed to deliver the 70 per cent votes as agreed with Ruto.

But excitement is rife that with some 630,282 votes (24 per cent) they gave Ruto from Busia, Vihiga, Bungoma, Kakamega and Trans Nzoia counties out of a possible 2,617,432 votes, Ruto will be gentle enough to reward them.

Ben Washiali, the immediate former Mumias East MP, said the region was assured of the National Assembly Speaker and chief minister slot. The slots could go to Wetang'ula and Mudavadi should Ruto become president.

 Cleophas Malala with UDA leader, President-elect William Ruto, during a past event. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Washiali, who was also the lead coordinator for Ruto's western Kenya campaigns, hinted that there were more opportunities for the immediate former Kakamega senator.

"Malala is still young. It's nothing big for a youthful man to lose in a hard-fought election. What awaits him in the future is bigger," he said.

Dr Beatrice Inyangala, who was Malala's running mate, said the outgoing senator has a promising future.

She said Malala had shown plausible leadership qualities, including that of including women and youth in leadership.

"He was in the Speaker's panel of the Senate and also deputy speaker in the Kakamega assembly. He fought for Kenya Kwanza with all his might," she said.

Before he ventured into politics, Malala, 38, was a trainer of drama at secondary schools and is famed for writing the play Shackles of Doom that came into the limelight after the Ministry of Education temporarily flagged it for allegedly perpetuating tribalism.

Barasa and his deputy Ayub Savula have expressed interest in working with Malala saying they could accommodate him in serving the county.

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