I’m not a specialist when it comes to Western Kenya politics, but if there is one county where it is increasingly clear how things will go, it is Kakamega county.
And from the way things seem to be going here, this one will be a great case study for Kenyan politicians.
Current Senator Boni Khalwale seeks to unseat Wycliffe Oparanya.
The bull fighter on a Ford Kenya ticket and Oparanya as the ODM candidate. These are two Nasa affiliated parties fighting for the same position. It was not supposed to happen this way, but Boni Khalwale was stubborn and insisted on throwing his hat in the ring. Never mind he would have had an extremely easy ride back to the senate.
Will his gamble pay off or will he lose everything?
I believe this was a gross miscalculation for Khalwale. He will lose the gubernatorial race and possibly stay out in the cold for the next 5 years.
First and foremost, his views that Oparanya has failed are shared by only a few Kakamegans (not sure that’s a name). This is supported by the numerous opinion polls conducted. The last one by Infotrak shows Oparanya leading with 68.3% and Khalwale second at 13.1%.
County opinion polls have not proved to be very accurate, but there are some gaps too huge to be ignored. It looks like Oparanya is having almost the kind of support Joho is enjoying in Mombasa.
Of course Khalwale dismissed the poll, but I’m sure privately he must have taken a careful examination to see the steps he took up to that point.
Apart from Oparanya’s performance, it’s likely that Kakamega is not showing some love to Khalwale because they don’t trust his management skills. And this is where politicians should calculate wisely moving forward.
Those loved for their entertainment value, the likes of Sonko and Waititu, have not had easy rides to county offices. Sonko is only now trying to re-invent himself into something else. While Boni Khalwale is nationally famous for his intellect and well-thought out debates, in Kakamega he is probably best known for bull fighting.
Khalwale previously featured a lot in Raila’s campaigns nationwide but nowadays he is nowhere to be seen. Perhaps this is a pointer that he has realized Kakamega votes are not easy to come by and therefore need his full attention. He cannot pull an ‘Orengo’ and expect to get anything.
All in all, I think Khalwale made a mistake going for the gubernatorial race this time round. He may make another stab in 5 years time, but if he spends 5 years in the cold, it will still not be home and dry in 2022.
Kakamega 2017 Prediction: Wycliffe Oparanya – Winner