Oparanya set to discard deputy ahead of 2022 after Matungu poll
Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya is reportedly planning to abandon his deputy Prof Philip Kutima as the quest to succeed him gains momentum both at the political party and county levels.
Oparanya reportedly told confidantes during a private session in Kisumu with county contractors, who supported the ODM campaigns in the Matungu by-election last month, that Kutima was a weak candidate who cannot guarantee a win for the 2022 Kakamega gubernatorial contest.
The meeting held in Kisumu to review ODM’s performance in the county after the March 4 by-election debacle discussed the alleged “insignificant’ role played by Kutima in the campaigns and threat posed by Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malalah of the Amani National Congress (ANC) .
Oparanya reportedly vouched for his Youth Chief Officer John Imbogo as the best suited candidate to fly the ODM flag.
The only two candidates who have expressed interest on an ODM ticket are Kutima, who is also the county ODM chairman and Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) CEO Fernandes Barasa, who registered as party life member last year.
The Kisumu meeting was chaired by Western Cross Company director Cleophas Shimanyula.
Its agenda was also to explore ways of taming Malalah with the governor suggesting the name of his former chief of staff and Lugari ODM chairman Nabii Nabwera to run against the senator during next year’s polls.
The entry of Nabii in the senate race is seen as a plot to denigrate the northern voting bloc, which comprises Malava, Lugari and Likuyani constituencies with at least 240,000 votes.
Shimanyula confirmed chairing the Kisumu meeting saying they explored ways of salvaging ODM’s dwindling support in the county.
“But we agreed to allow things to shape up in the meantime until June probably before a decision is taken,” he added.
Yesterday, Malalah, who was stripped of his position as Senate Deputy Minority Leader by ODM, laughed off the plot saying the contractors have independent thought.
He said the journey to exorcise the ODM ghost from the county had just started with the triumph in Matungu, adding the governor should not think of recouping any ground with political deadwoods and greenhorns.
“I know they are plotting against me for my role in Matungu by-election but they should remember that they never assisted me to become what I am today,” he said.