By Collins Matubwi

Kakamega

Kakamega residents are torn between electing a politician or a technocrat to succeed Governor Wycliffe Oparanya whose term is ending in the next 735 days.

Majority of Kakamega residents who participated in an opinion poll that was conducted between July 5 – August 5, want a manager like Mr. Oparanya to replace him as the second Governor of Kakamega County. The opinion poll was commissioned by the County Splash, an online news platform and a research firm.

There are ten candidates comprising of seasoned politicians, both former and current legislators and new comers in the political arena who have been either in private or public service.

Ketraco CEO Fernandes Barasa

Given that it is not an electioneering period, the candidates have chosen to work behind the scenes to solidify their support and endear themselves to the electorate ahead of 2022 general elections.

The Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) Chief Executive Officer, Fernandes Barasa will be elected, as the second governor of Kakamega County if elections were to be held today at 18.73 per cent(464) followed by Kakamega Deputy Governor Prof Philip Kutima at 17.67per cent(438) at the second position of the total tallied votes.

 Former Kakamega Senator Bonny Khalwale will emerge position three with 17.63per cent(437)followed by the Senate Deputy Minority Leader Cleophas Malala at the fourth position with 14.23 per cent(353) and Lugari MP Ayub Savula will be at the fifth position with 14.11 per cent(350) of the total votes.

Kakamega Deputy Governor Prof Philip Kutima

 Former Kakamega Senator Bonny Khalwale will emerge position three with 17.63per cent(437)followed by the Senate Deputy Minority Leader Cleophas Malala at the fourth position with 14.23 per cent(353) and Lugari MP Ayub Savula will be at the fifth position with 14.11 per cent(350) of the total votes.

Former Minister Prof Amukoa Anangwe will be placed at the sixth position with 3.91 per cent(97) followed by the soft-spoken Ikolomani MP Bernard Shinali at the seventh position with 2.17 per cent(54)  and Kakamega County Assembly Clerk Laban Atemba at the eight position with 1.12 per cent(28) of the total tallied votes.

Former Kakamega Senator Dr Boni Khalwale

Former Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (Cecafa) Secretary General Nicholas Musonye and city Lawyer Michael Osundwa will be at the ninth position and tenth positions with a vote tally of 1.01 per cent(25) and 0.75 per cent(19) respectively while 8.67 per cent(215) of the sampled population were undecided on which candidate to support for the governorship seat.

Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala

The total sample population was 2,479 respondents. The survey was based on impromptu interviews, phone calls and questionnaires.

Analysis

Going by the last opinion poll that was released in early April this year, Fernandes Barasa is the biggest beneficiary after leapfrogging to position one. This is as a result of his heightened activities in the county in reaching to the electorate.

Lugari MP Ayub Savula

With Covid19 in place, many political activities were brought to a standstill and Mr. Barasa grasped this opportunity to solidify his support base through his foot soldiers spread across the county.

The Ketraco boss through Barasa Foundation- a charitable organisation, has been able to reach many people by giving out food stuffs, face masks and hand washing soaps to cushion them from the harsh economic time brought by Covid19. He has also been donating motorcycles to youth groups and supporting women groups across the county.

Barasa is yet to unleash his running mate, a choice that may impact his candidature either negatively or positively to his gubernatorial quest.

Prof Amukoa Anangwe

His main support base is in the rich Wanga voting block of Mumias East (45,380 voters), Mumias West (47,492 voters) and Matungu (61,728 voters). He also commands parts of Navakholo (53,620 voters) and Butere (62,956 voters).

Barasa is yet to unleash his running mate, a choice that may impact his candidature either negatively or positively to his gubernatorial quest. He is also facing a tough balancing act with the emergence of new entrants in race from his own voting block.  Majority of the voters feel that the southern part of the county has been in power under Governor Oparanya and therefore the Central and Northern region want to have one of their own at the helm of power.

Ikolamani MP Bernard Shinali

Prof Kutima, the Kakamega Deputy Governor, has got a strong support in his home turf of Malava Sub County (82,000 votes), Butere (62,956 voters), Khwisero (48,920 voters) and some parts of Navakholo and Lurambi constituencies.

Majority of those supporting Kutima’s candidature believe that he is best suited to replace Oparanya as Governor after the two worked together to deliver multi-billion flagship projects like the Bukhungu stadium, the new  750-bed capacity Kakamega County Teaching and Referral Hospital, opening of the road network in the entire county and the upcoming Malava Dairy Plant among others.

Prof Kutima is considered as being a humble deputy governor who has never contradicted his boss like what other deputies do and that his sound educational background seems to have embraced the elites within the county.

Kakamega County Assembly Clerk, Laban Atemba

His greatest challenge will be choosing a deputy governor and where he or she shall come from, which will play a pivotal role in determining how he will fair on during the voting day.

Kutima is yet to reach out to the voters for support neither do others know him well. He is perceived to be a conservative man who lacks the political charisma to influence voters

Former Kakamega Senator Dr. Khalwale, has dropped two points given that he was position one in the previous polls though the electorates who were reached during the polls still believe that Khalwale can still become next Kakamega Governor if he denounces his dalliance with Deputy President William Ruto.

His name is a brand in the county and more so, he comes from the third most populous community of Idakho and Isukha in Ikolomani and Shinyalu sub counties with 49,899 voters and 71,256 registered voters respectively as per the 2017 elections.

Those who are against his candidature believe that he is a Ruto project in the region out to destroy Musalia Mudavadi’s presidential candidature in 2022 polls.

Nicholas Musonye

They claim that he is a self- centered politician contrary to his earlier principles and his  frequent dramas in favor of the Deputy President including pouring of water to police officers during the corona period has changed perception of many and want him to consider going for senate seat given that he is a great debater.

For Senator Malala, he has improved by a point to position four owing to his elevation as the Mulembe Youth spokesman and now keeping Governor Oparanya on toes in his oversight role for the last five months.

However many are of the view that if he will support a Luhya candidate and ditch DP Ruto, he will be an unbeatable candidate.

For Senator Malala, he has improved by a point to position four owing to his elevation as the Mulembe Youth spokesman and now keeping Governor Oparanya on toes in his oversight role for the last five months. His appointment as Senate Deputy Minority Leader is also working good for the maverick senator and the handling of Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru’s impeachment.

He has reached to many youths across the county courtesy of the annual Cleo Malala cup as well as his oratory skills. 

His biggest undoing is his defiance against his party leader Musalia Mudavadi in favor of ODM’s Raila Odinga.

Lugari MP Ayub Savula has made a name for himself  through his oratory skills and has a huge following in Lugari (77,001 voters) and Likuyani (63,311 voters) as well as some parts of Malava, Khwisero, Butere and Shinyalu.

Nairobi City Lawyer Michael Osundwa

During Covid19 times, he reached to the less fortunate in the society including floods victims in Matungu, Navakholo, Likuyani, Lugari, Mumias west and Khwisero constituencies and those who supported his candidature believe that if given a chance to lead the county; he will be an all-inclusive and considerate leader.

His recent loyalty to ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi has also rebranded him as a great agitate of luhya unity. Savula declined to be swayed with money to topple Mudavadi as the ANC’s party leader like what happened in Ford Kenya, a move that has earned him accolades among the electorate and his peers.

Savula is not well known in the lower Kakamega as other respondents associate his fate to the Bunyore factor.

Former health minister Prof Amukoa Anangwe has a well-known name as a former MP for Butere and a political scientist. He has laid down political strategies but yet to break the shell of his own political breakthrough .

 Ikolomani MP and Chairman of Kakamega elected lawmakers Benard Shinali should try the senate seat or defend his MP seat. This is according to the polled voters. They say he is out to spoil Khalwale’s chances of succeeding Oparanya given that they came from the same area.

For Laban Atemba, he is financially stable and comes from Matungu constituency, which is part of Wanga voting block. He also enjoys the support of current ODM MCAs at the Kakamega County Assembly.

Governor Wycliffe Oparanya

Many believe Atemba is best suited to lead the county given that he has the same educational background like that of Governor Oparanya.

Mr. Musonye (Ex Cecafa boss) has a huge following among the sports fanatics. He also comes from the third most populous community of Isukha and Idakho. He is also well endowed with resources. Musomye also seems to have muted his gubernatorial microphone after he joined FKF politics.

Voters want City lawyer Mike Sakwa Osundwa, retire from politics and support either Fernandes or Atemba for the governorship seat. However Osundwa is a known name to the voters having participated in the 2017 general elections on ANC ticket.

Ends

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