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Governors re-elect Oparanya, Wa Iria as council chair, deputy

By Lucas Ngasike and Nathan Ochunge | January 21st 2020
Newly elected Council of Governors officials from left Vice Chairman Mwangi Wa Iria, Muthomi Njuki, Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya, Wycliffe Wangamati and Anne Waiguru address the media after their elections at Movenpick Hotel, Westlands in Nairobi on Monday. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya has been re-elected chairman of the Council of Governors (CoG).

Murang’a Governor Mwangi Wa IriaCoG also retained his post as Oparanya’s deputy.

The decision to retain Mr Oparanya and his deputy was made through consensus in a meeting attended by more than 35 governors.

Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana also retained his position as Chief Whip.

Oparanya and Prof Kibwana had no opponents.

There was a twist, however, after an attempt by Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu and Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago to oust Wa Iria. Both dropped their bid after a consensus was reached.

Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi will chair the legal affairs, human rights, intergovernmental relations, security and foreign affairs committee.

Labour and gender

Kisii Governor James Ongwae will chair human resources, labour and social welfare, while Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony will chair gender, youth, sports, culture and social services.

Narok Governor Samuel Tunai will chair the tourism and natural resources committee; Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui urban planning, housing, development, lands, infrastructure and energy, while education committee will be chaired by Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga.

Oparanya said the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) has proposed to increase county allocation from 15 per cent to 35 per cent, though CoG wanted 45 per cent.

He said counties faced hurdles last year that stalled several projects in the counties following a stalemate with the national government over revenue bill and pending bills.

Last year, Oparanya was unanimously elected as CoG chairman.

In 2018, CoG was chaired by Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok who sought re-election last year after the expiry of his one-year term which began in December 2017. He was deputised by Kirinyaga’s Anne Waiguru.

Oparanya is the fourth governor to head the council after former Bomet Governor Isaac Rutto’s stint from 2013-2015, former Meru Governor Peter Munya (2015-2017), Turkana’s Josphat Nanok (May 2017 to January 2019).

Addressing the governors at a Nairobi hotel yesterday, Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa said the government was committed to strengthening the devolved units in order to improve service delivery.

Regional blocs

“We will work together to empower regional blocs formed by county governments. Regional economic blocs should be an investment hub for the private sector,” Wamalwa said.

Members of County Assembly from Bungoma, Kakamega and Vihiga hailed the governors for re-electing Oparanya.

“Governors across the country have shown faith in Oparanya. He is a man of action and his work speaks for itself. Let him now focus on fighting for more money to come to the devolved units,” said Maraka Ward MCA Ali Machani, who is also Bungoma County ODM chairman.

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