Azimio, Kenya Kwanza teams back to campaigns for governor

Kakamega county ANC gubernatorial candidate Cleophas Malala and his Deputy governor aspirant Dr Beatrice Inyangala during a consultative meeting with Batsotoso sub-clan community at Planet garden resort in Kakamega town on June 27, 2022. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

A week to the election of Kakamega County's next governor, the candidates are back on the campaign trail.

Fernandes Barasa of ODM and Senator Cleophas Malala have reactivated their campaign machinery after a lull occasioned by the General Election.

Others in the race are Cyrus Jirongo (UDP), Suleiman Sumba (Kanu), Samuel Omukoko (MDP) and independent candidates Michael Osundwa and Austin Optiso.

Mr Malala has lined up rallies across the 12 sub-counties in an attempt to clinch the county's top job.

Buoyed by Monday's president-elect William Ruto's victory, the senator on Tuesday told hundreds of supporters in Malava, Matungu and Kakamega town that he was confident of a win.

The Amani National Congress (ANC) candidate urged residents to turn out in large numbers and cast their on Tuesday, vowing to deliver the seat to Kenya Kwanza.

The Independent Election and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) postponed the voting for the governor's seat in Kakamega and Mombasa due to a mix-up in ballot papers.

Mr Barasa, a former Kenya Electricity Transmission Company boss, said he had instructed his lawyers to sue IEBC.

The race is expected to revive the rivalry between Kenya Kwanza and Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition in Western, coming a week after the declaration of Dr Ruto as the winner amid claims of irregularities.

ANC Kakamega branch executive secretary Isaac Otiende said the Musalia Mudavadi-led outfit was headed for a win. "I said that whoever becomes president would determine winners in Kakamega and Mombasa gubernatorial race. As things stand, Kenya Kwanza has better chances of clinching both seats."

"Winning the governor's race is important because that is the only way ANC will redeem its imaged after the dismal performance in the General Election."

The party got only five parliamentary and 15 MCA seats in the region.

"With Ruto in the driving seat, we in ANC are hopeful. ODM will have an uphill task challenging us for the seat," said Mr Otiende.

But Governor Wycliffe Oparanya insists that he is prepared to deliver the seat to ODM and Azimio.

He said the party would ride on its popularity in Western.

The governor said ODM and other Azimio affiliate parties will work together to hand ANC and Kenya Kwanza a humiliating defeat.

"After delivering the presidential vote and majority elective seats in Kakamega and Western at large, our focus shifts to the Kakamega governor seat," said Mr Oparanya.

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