Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya has been re-elected as the chair of the Council of Governors to become the third governor to retain the seat.
Oparanya and his vice-chair Makueni governor Kivutha Kibwana were elected unopposed as they did not have any opponents. By consensus, Kenya’s county governors have granted the current leadership of their council another term in office.
No elections were held after it emerged that Oparanya and Kibwana did not have opponents.
On Monday, the county bosses agreed that Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Mwangi Wa Iria (Murang’a) and Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni) get a fresh mandate as chairman, vice-chairman and chief whip respectively.
Only Mr Wa Iria’s seat was contested, with Charity Ngilu (Kitui) and Jackson Mandago (Uasin Gishu) seeking to oust the Murang’a Governor but they pulled out after consensus was reached.
Reports suggest that Oparanya might have been fronted by the state hence his unopposed re-election.
According to reports, President Kenyatta himself rooted for the Kakamega governor when he met some governors last Tuesday in Mombasa, saying he was happy with his leadership at CoG.
Oparanya is known to be an immense supporter of the handshake and both President Kenyatta and partner Raila Odinga have been supporting him back. The governor is pro the duo’s Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
On Saturday last week, he hosted the second BBI consultative meeting in Bukhungu Stadium. The event was attended by Raila, Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugine Wamalwa, a number of governors across the country among other government officials.
According to Kahawa Tungu, Deputy President William Ruto, whose allies have accused Raila and his ODM party of hijacking BBI to campaign for 2022 elections, had fronted Mandera County boss Ali Roba for the CoG role.
However, the Mandera governor declined the offer saying he also supported Oparanya to retain his seat.
Some of the roles of the CoG chairperson include creating a link between the 47 governors and pushing for county interests such as division of revenue.
Oparanya took over the position in January last year from Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok who served from May 2017 to January 2019.
Other people who have held the position before include former governors Isaac Rutto (Bomet) and Peter Munya (Meru).