Although discussions are said to be in their initial stages, it’s too early to determine if Senator Khalwale will ditch President Ruto’s party and join Azimio. Speculations are rife that a majority of Luhya leaders are plotting to dump President Ruto’s UDA Party should Azimio pick Mr Oparanya as Kalonzo Musyoka’s running mate in the 2027 presidential contest
By The Weekly Vision Team
Governor Fernandez Baraza of Kakamega is under siege. The governor finds himself between the proverbial rock and the hard place owing to his dalliances with President William Ruto and his Kenya Kwanza administration in a county dominated by the Orange Democratic Party of Raila Odinga.
If the events of last week’s political meetings in the county are anything to go by, then the governor should, as a matter of urgency, rush back to the drawing board to rectify the situation before matters get out of his hands.
Sources on the ground have told The Weekly Vision that a plot to kick Mr Barasa from the ODM party before the 2027 elections has begun. Last week, something unusual happened in Kakamega when ODM Deputy Party leader and former Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya hosted Kakamega Senator Dr. Bonny Khalwale, who is the majority senate whip, for a meeting that lasted for six hours.
It was the UDA Secretary General, Cleophas Malala, who opened a can of worms when he claimed that Governor Barasa had promised President Ruto that he would support his re-election in 2027. To the ODM party, that was a betrayal of the highest order.
According to sources who attended the meeting, a serious political realignment is looming in Kakamega, with Governor Baraza headed for the chopping board. Analysts, however, have asked how the difference between Mr Oparanya and Governor Barasa came to be; the two were close political buddies in the run-up to the 2022 elections.
It has, however, been discovered that immediately after being sworn into office as governor, Barasa distanced himself from ODM and publicly declared that he was going to work with Kenya Kwanza and President William Ruto. This declaration did not go down well with ODM party leader Raila Odinga, who also publicly claimed that Barasa had betrayed the party and the Azimio Coalition.
Mr Oparanya, on the other hand, has been complaining silently while confiding in his close allies that Barasa was frustrating some members of county staff. Senator Khalwale, a shrewd politician, discovered that he could easily mend fences with Oparanya and run for the 2027 gubernatorial seat with the former governors’ support.
Although discussions are said to be in their initial stages, it’s too early to determine if Senator Khalwale will ditch President Ruto’s party and join Azimio. Speculations are rife that a majority of Luhya leaders are plotting to dump President Ruto’s UDA Party should Azimio pick Mr Oparanya as Kalonzo Musyoka’s running mate in the 2027 presidential contest.
The above scenario is also pegged on one factor: if Ruto fails to pick Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi as his running mate in the 2027 race. If Azimio picks Mr Oparanya, there will be a mass defection from Kenya Kwanza to Azimio.
Analysts further opine that Khalwale knows so well that by supporting Oparanya for the running mate position in Kakamega County, which is predominately in the ODM zone, he will benefit and will take the Kakamega gubernatorial seat.
It goes without saying that during the last general elections, Khalwale received votes for the senatorial seats from ODM and Azimio supporters. It is worth noting that Khalwale’s political support cuts across political party affiliations in Kakamega County.
During the last general elections, Khalwale garnered 247,860 votes while Barasa got 192,929 votes, trouncing his opponent Cleophas Malala of the ANC, who got 159,508. Statistically, Khalwale got 54,941 more votes than Barasa. This means that 54,941 ODM supporters voted for Khalwale. Further, Khalwale got more votes than Ruto in Kakamega County. President Ruto garnered 140,626.