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I have plans for Wycliffe Oparanya in National Government – Raila Odinga

ODM leader Raila Odinga (L) and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya (R). [File, Standard]

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga says he will absorb outgoing Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya in his government, should he (Raila) win the presidency in August 9 polls.

Oparanya has served the maximum two-term limit as governor, and is ineligible to vie again for the same seat.

Addressing residents of Butere in Kakamega County on Saturday, March 26, Raila Odinga said he has plans to absorb Oparanya in the National Government.

Odinga, however, did not reveal the position that Oparanya is likely to get in his government, should he win the presidential election.

“Wycliffe Oparanya has stood by me for many years. He has served you as Butere MP and Kakamega Governor. I’m now asking you to allow me take him to Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. Lift your hand up if you agree with me that it’s time I took Oparanya to the higher level of government,” said Odinga.

“I will go with him up there,” insisted the ODM boss.

Some of the positions that Oparanya could serve in in an Odinga administration include Cabinet Secretary, Chief of Staff at the Office of the President, State House Comptroller, among others.

The Azimio la Umoja presidential candidate also took the opportunity to drum up support for former Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO) Managing Director Fernandes Barasa, who is seeking to succeed Oparanya as the Governor of Kakamega County.

“Oparanya is now leaving you in the hands of [Fernandes] Barasa. They say: the king is gone, long live the king,” said Odinga.

“I’m urging you to vote for Azimio la Umoja candidates in Kakamega, Busia, Vihiga and Bungoma counties. The same should be extended to Siaya County,” added the ODM chief.

In his campaign address, Odinga said, should he win the presidency, he will prioritise healthcare, agriculture, youth employment, credit facilities for the youth, infrastructure and the welfare of single parents, particularly women.

Oparanya, 66, served as MP for Butere Constituency between 2002 and 2013. He, thereafter, successfully ran for the post of Governor of Kakamega County on an ODM ticket. He’s served in the position for two terms.

Oparanya is a certified public accountant and a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK).

He has 23 years’ experience in local and international finance management, audit and business consultancy.

Before joining politics in 2002, Oparanya worked at the Kenya-Aerotec Limited as chief financial controller. The company, established in 1971 and headquartered at the JKIA, deals in aviation ground support services in the region.

During the grand coalition government, between 2008 and 2013, Oparanya served as Minister of State for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030.

He holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree (Accounting Option) and an MBA (Finance) from the University of Nairobi. He also holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Dar-es- Salaam, Tanzania.

His strong Finance background could make him a top contender for a Finance docket in Raila Odinga’s government, or State House Comptroller job.

The State House Comptroller budgets and approves finances in Office of the President, and by extension, Office of the Deputy President.

The current holder of the position is Kinuthia Mbugua, the former Governor of Nakuru County.

Former State House Comptroller Franklin Bett – in an interview with The Standard in April 2021 – said when one is appointed to the post, “there is the feeling of having achieved your full potential because the person you are serving, and the tasks involved are the ultimate challenges for any civil servant in the country”.

Terms of service for the holder of the office are like those of a Principal Secretary because the person is in charge of Finance and Administration, but carries added responsibilities of being the president’s private secretary.

The office-holder therefore ensures that all functions; from transport, security, communication, catering and general administration, are not only well funded, but also properly performed.