Embu Governor Martin Wambora was on Friday, January 29 elected as the new Chairman of the Council of Governors (CoG).
He succeeds Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya who has held the post since 2019.
Wambora will be deputized by his Kisii counterpart James Ongwae.
Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos was elected as the new CoG Chief Whip, replacing Makueni’s Kivutha Kibwana.
Mutahi Kahiga of Nyeri, a former teachers’ union official, was elected to chair the Education Committee.
Governors met at Movenpick Hotel in Nairobi to settle on their new leader, and announced after the meeting that they looked forward to enhanced cooperation with the national government.
Others who had expressed interest in replacing Oparanya include Uasin Gishu’s Jackson Mandago, Kirinyaga’s Anne Waiguru and Kwale’s Salim Mvurya.
Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana had withdrawn his candidature on the eve of the meeting, citing his planned 2022 bid for the Presidency.
“I will not be a candidate for the Council of Governors elections. As a 2022 presidential candidate, I have been advised by my team that serving in the next CoG executive can constitute a conflict of interest. I thank my colleagues for the opportunity to serve as Chief Whip,” he tweeted.
Wambora takes over at a time when national discourse is dominated by the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) and the 2022 General Election.
Oparanya, a supporter of BBI, had faced criticism from some of his colleagues for supposedly being pro-establishment instead of keeping the CoG as a united front.
“I support BBI; it’s a fact. I have done my best in the circumstances available and stood for what I did before my election as chair till now. It is such a demanding job but I am happy it gave me a new experience,” Oparanya stated ahead of the meeting.