President Uhuru Kenyatta is backing Kakamega boss Wycliffe Oparanya to retain his position at the helm of the Council of Governors when they vote on Monday, January 20.
According to a report by The Star, the Head of State’s support has already been communicated to a number of governors, making it easier for Oparanya to extend his reign by another year.
This, however, is a big blow to Deputy President William Ruto and his allies who had reportedly lined up Mandera’s Ali Roba as Oparanya’s possible replacement. Roba later said he was not vying and that he will support Oparanya.
“For the record, Governor Roba is not running for any position at the CoG and will throw his support behind Oparanya. He is not aligned to any other camp,” Roba’s chief of staff, David Ohito, was quoted by The Star.
This reportedly left the DP’s camp still searching for a preferred candidate by as late as Sunday evening.
The President is believed to have thrown his weight behind the Kakamega chief when he met some governors last Tuesday in Mombasa. He is said to have been impressed by Oparanya’s tenure at the helm of CoG.
Last year, Oparanya was voted unanimously as the CoG Chairman against six contestants namely: Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga County), Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu County), Jackson Mandago (Uasin Gishu County), Salim Mvurya (Kwale County) and Josphat Nanok (Turkana).
Mandago is said to be seeking the vice chairperson’s position currently held by Mwangi wa Iria (Murang’a).
Oparanya is the fifth governor to be picked to head the council after Isaac Rutto (Bomet), Peter Munya (Meru), Salim Mvurya (Kwale) and Josphat Nanok (Turkana).
During the council meeting, Governors will also pick chairpersons and vice-chairpersons of technical committees such as Human Resource and Labour, Finance and Economic Planning, Communication and ICT, Legal Affairs and Intergovernmental Relations and Health.