Wycliffe Oparanya: I've no capacity to mess with ODM polls

ODM leader Raila Odinga with Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya during the Azimio la Umoja rally Kakamega chapter at Bukhungu Stadium on December 31st 2021. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

ODM Deputy Party leader Wycliffe Oparanya has distanced himself from claims of interfering with Kakamega County ODM primaries.

Oparanya said it is the duty of the party’s National Elections Board (NEB) to conduct the nomination slated for April 19, and he had no capacity to interfere with it.

“I don’t have any mandate to give nomination certificates. I am waiting for NEB to give the certificates in order to start campaigning for the ODM candidates in Kakamega and the western region in general to increase our bargaining power,” said the Kakamega governor.

He was speaking during a funeral in Mumias East Sub-county, where he responded to accusations of planning to rig the primaries in favour of certain aspirants.

In the past one month, Oparanya has come under stinging criticism from, among others, his Deputy Philip Kutima, who accused him of promoting clannism in a county that enjoys ethnic diversity.

Prof Kutima recently defected to Democratic Alliance Party of Kenya (DAP-K), saying he had discovered that the ODM ticket had secretly been given to a new entrant and rival, Fernandes Barasa.

Three weeks ago, Prof Kutima launched a scathing attack on his boss for allegedly duping him while promoting the candidature of Barasa.

During the funeral, Mr Oparanya was told to his face by some mourners that he had presided over massive corruption in Kakamega with the help of contractors and top ODM leadership for the past 10 years. 

The governor, however, denied the allegations and called on voters not to be influenced by handouts and clannism. He urged the residents to evaluate the development record of each candidate.

“Look at the ability of each candidate. Judge them if they can perform and work for the benefit of all people. Don’t be deceived by handouts,” he said.

Meanwhile, in Malava, ODM leaders have embarked on popularising the party and its candidates.

Malava parliamentary aspirant Joab Manyasi said the aspirants expect free and fair nominations, as a direct ticket does not guarantee one a win.