By Wilson Abiri and Collins Matubwi

  • Khalwale was second to Governor Oparanya in 2017 governorship polls
  • Khalwale’s dalliance with DP Ruto and Savula’s court case might work against their candidature
  • Billionaire businessman Fernandes Barasa, to give them a run for their money
  • Senator Malala’s oratory skills is his greatest weapon against his compatriots
  • Prof Kutima is riding on Oparanya’s development track record

Former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale and Lugari Member of Parliament Ayub Savula are in a dead heat race to succeed Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, according to an opinion poll.

If gubernatorial elections were to be held today, then Dr Khalwale (Jubilee Party) will be declared the winner with 18.09 per cent of the total votes casted whereas his fierce rival Mr Savula will come second with 17.36 per cent. The margin difference between Khalwale and Savula was 0.73 per cent.

Former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale

In the last gubernatorial elections, Khalwale was second with 135,000 votes to Governor Oparanya, an incumbent had garnered 387,999.

The opinion poll was conducted between December 20th –  31st last year across the county where 1774 were reached through telephone interviews, online survey, one on one interviews and by filling questionnaires. The poll was commissioned by County Splash, an online news platform.

Lugari MP Ayub Savula

Kakamega Deputy Governor Prof Philip Museve Kutima came a distant third with 14.49 per cent while the maverick Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala was fourth in the opinion poll with 14.487 per cent.

The billionaire business tycoon from Wanga region, Fernandes Barasa, who also want to succeed Oparanya was fifth with 10.2 per cent and was closely followed at sixth position with Nairobi based lawyer Michael Osundwa with 8.06 per cent.

Kakamega Deputy Governor Prof Philip Kutima

 The soft spoken Ikolomani MP Bernard Shinali was seventh with 5.07 per cent followed by Ex Butere MP Amukoa Anangwe who was at the eighth position with 2.42 per cent.

Samson Omukoko had 1.18 per cent while 6.25 per cent of those interviewed were still undecided.

Majority of those interviewed when the opinion poll was being conducted said that Khalwale had a clean bill of health to succeed Mr Oparanya when he retires in 2022 but his dalliance with Deputy President William Ruto has greatly reduced his support in the county.

Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala

 Khalwale, who was the Deputy Party Leader of Ford Kenya has since defected to the Jubilee Party.

 However, according to the opinion poll, Khalwale still enjoys a huge support from the third populous voting block of the Isukha community in Shinyalu Constituency that has 71,256 registered voters as per the 2017 elections.

Khalwale also commands the votes of the Idakho community in Ikolomani Constituency that has 49,899 voters and sections of Lurambi constituency that has 80,037 registered voters.

Fernandes Barasa

He also enjoys support in Navakholo Constituency where his second wife comes from. The Constituency has 53,620 registered voters.

Mr Savula, the Lugari MP going by the opinion poll, would have consolidated all the votes in Lugari, Likuyani and sections of Malava and Lurambi constituencies.

 Lugari and Likuyani as per the 2017 IEBC records has a total 77,001 registered voters and Likuyani has 63,311 respectively as well as Malava that has 82,136 voters.

Lawyer Michael Osundwa

However, Mr Savula’s ongoing alleged corruption case in court may work against his candidature.

Kakamega Deputy Governor Prof Kutima enjoys a huge following in his home turf of Malava, Khwisero (48,920 voters) and Butere (62,956 voters) owing to the close working relationship with Governor Oparanya.  

Those who are supporting his governorship bid are of the opinion that he is the right person to succeed Mr Oparanya in 2022 so that he can continue with his (Oparanya) development agenda. Unlike his colleagues, Prof Kutima has also been loyal to his boss.

Ikolomani MP Bernard Shinali

For Senator Malala, he enjoys the support of the youths across the county with Lurambi, Mumias West, Mumias East and Shinyalu being his strong base. Mr Malala also enjoys support from the elites who are in there early 40, s but the old guards feel, he still has a long way to go and that he should consider going for senate seat again.

His greatest undoing is his fowl mouth and constant attacks on regional leaders like Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula.

Mr Barasa who polled at position five is a greenhorn in politics but he enjoys massive support from Mumias East (45,380 voters) where he hails from and Matungu (61,728 voters) where he has settled. Mumias West (47,492 voters) is also in his tray owing to the Wanga voting block.

Majority of those interviewed when the opinion poll was being conducted said that Khalwale had a clean bill of health to succeed Mr Oparanya when he retires in 2022 but his dalliance with Deputy President William Ruto has greatly reduced his support in the county.

However, by him (Barasa) not belonging to any political class will be a great setback to him although he is endowed with resources.

Mr Osundwa, a lawyer, who will be trying his second stab at the top seat was position four in the 2017 governorship race but his support is quickly waning. He garnered 8,652 votes. Mable Muruli of jubilee was position three with 14,323 votes.

Those interviewed said that after the polls, he hasn’t been seen publicly even in his own home turf. He is also a cousin of Mr Barasa.

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya

The voters feel that Shinali to consider defending his Ikolomani Parliamentary seat or try the Senate seat that is currently being held by Senator Malala as opposed to the governor’s seat. His constituents feel he will be out to divide Khalwale’s votes and that he is being used to spoil Khalwale’s chances of ascending to the top seat.

Others fell that he is not ripe for the top seat and fear that he might be send to political oblivion after the 2022 general elections.

For Mr Omukoko, a first timer, those interviewed said he should try the Khwisero MP seat as opposed to the governor’s seat since he is a ‘political toddler’.

N/B : An opinion poll rating the performance of Kakamega MPs and MCAs will be out in the first week of February 2020



    • Khalwale is a man of many surprises, next he can make an about turn and join a formidable winning coalition and become kakamega governor


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