Kakamega: Battle For Political Power Between Oparanya vs. Malala

By Andanje Wakhungu

Former Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya and UDA acting Secretary General Cleophas Malala locked horns last weekend over their political affiliations, threatening to halt each other’s political careers come 2027. Speaking in Kakamega during the burial ceremony of the late Godfrey Levi Shimanyula, father to business magnate Cleophas ‘TOTO’ Shimanyula, the two leaders went for each other’s jugular, spewing political venom in the full glare of mourners.

It all started when a section of leaders opposed alleged plans by the former governor to contest for the county senatorial seat in the coming polls. A section of the mourners urged him to go for a higher political seat, while others blasted him and pleaded with him to hang up his political boots.

First to set the political tempo rolling was businessman Cleophas Toto, who called on Mr Oparanya to shelve his senatorial ambitions and go for the country’s top seat, considering that he has served in various ministries as a minister and later as a two-term governor of Kakamega County.

Toto told Mr Oparanya not to belittle himself by eyeing a smaller position of Senator, reminding him that he was the deputy party leader of the most popular party in the country, ODM, a party that will need leadership after the current party leader, Raila Odinga, moves to Addis Ababa to serve as the African Union Commission chairman.

“We hear you’re planning to contest for the Senate seat, but as your supporters, we refuse. You are way above the position, and what we expect from you is that you will stand up against the Kenya Kwanza administration by vying for the presidency in 2027. We will support you. I have seen our county Mp. Elsie Muhanda here. Please meet and discuss how best you can assist our governor, Fernandez Barasa, to manage this county. Don’t listen to the propaganda being peddled against him; we need to safeguard our precious country from becoming irrelevant.”.

When Cleophas Malala rose to speak, he concurred with Trans Nzioa Governor George Natembeya’s Tawe movement, which has called for the exit of both Speaker of the National Assembly Moses Wetangula and Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi from the political field over their failure to assist the Mulembe nation despite them being in power for a long time. Mr Malala caused a stir when he asked Governor Natembeya to add to his list the likes of Wycliffe Oparanya and Eugene Wamalwa to also exit the political arena.

“I really support your Tawe movement in Trans Nzoia, where you are pushing for the removal of old guards, but your list is not full. I’m requesting that you include Oparanya and Eugene Wamalwa, as they have also exhausted themselves politically, and it is even shocking to hear that now Oparanya is planning to run for the Senate after being in government for over 40 years. Let him give way to the new generation.”

Oparanya, who did not take Malala’s sentiments lightly, answered by promising to support Fernandez Barasa for his second term as governor of Kakamega and hence deny Malala a chance of becoming governor, “Let me tell you, Malala, you were my MCA (Mahiakalo Ward Lurambi sub county) when I was the governor, and you did a tremendous job, but this issue of me planning to vie for the senatorship position is farfetched and will not happen. If there’s anyone we are worried about who has been derailed by joining UDA, come back home to ODM.

The TransNzoia governor, George Natembeya, continued with his campaign to root out non-development leaders in Western countries to revolutionize the region. He said he will continue to drum up support for the common mwananchi to get better services. Former defence minister Eugene Wamalwa, DAP (Kenya) was also present.