The bad political blood between Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Senator Cleophas Malala is behind the recent move by the vocal senator to rejoin ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi bandwagon.
While attending a funeral service of the late head of Church of God in East Africa Byrum Makokha in Mariakani, South B in Nairobi, Malala told mourners that Oparanya and Devolution Cabinet secretary Eugene Wamalwa are not community political leaders but only administrators. To the senator, Mudavadi is the undisputed Luhya political leader. Malala went ahead to challenge nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi and other ANC rebels to respect Mudavadi. Malala’s change of tune happened immediately after meeting ODM leader Raila Odinga who had rebuked him in public. Sources well versed with Raila, Malala talks revealed all was not well as the senator stood with those opposing the revenue sharing formula currently being pushed by Uhuru Kenyatta. Raila had invited Malala to plead with him to abandon the hard stance he has taken with other senators.
Weekly Citizen has further established that Malala was concerned by the recent meeting held at Oparanya’s rural home attended by Raila and MCAs in Kakamega county. At the talks, Raila is said to have hit at Mudavadi for going against his wishes to back the Building Bridges Initiative. Raila went ahead to declare, he was now working with Oparanya on the national front to benefit the Luhya community just like with CS Wamalwa. Raila’s declaration to work with Oparanya was not received well with Malala. The senator has been a thorn in the flesh for the governor ever since his days as MCA before his current position. In fact, Oparanya camp argues that Malala is opposed to revenue sharing formula which is to benefit Kakamega due to his wars with Oparanya. Malala is one of those eyeing to succeed Oparanya as governor 2022.
Others are Lugari MP Ayub Savula, Ketraco CEO Fernandez Barasa, deputy governor Philip Kutima and former minister Amukoa Anagwe. Malala had started befriending ODM luminaries on grounds that the party will give him the ticket. The senator was elected on an ANC bandwagon. Raila’s decision to work with Oparanya sent signals that Malala would not be favoured on an ODM ticket, hence his decision to think outside ODM box. It is no secret when DCI officers recently arrested Malala in Nairobi and drove him to Mumias Police Station, Oparanya camp went celebrating. Further, when Kenya Revenue Authority froze Malala’s bank accounts, the governor’s aides were overheard saying the senator had received bribes from Kirinyaga governor Anne Waiguru to write a favourable report clearing her from impeachment.
Talk was rife in Kakamega and Mumias towns to the effect that Malala had banked Sh5 million in his account during the time Waiguru impeachment was before the senate as he was chairing the committee investigating the matter. Malala is said to have read the political signs in ODM and decided to chart his own way. It is imperative to note that when Oparanya and Wamalwa were named community kingpins by Cotu boss Francis Atwoli, Malala, Osotsi and ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna launched a lobby under the banner of Luhya Youthful Leaders. The lobby was to counter Oparanya and Wamalwa who were then crisscrossing Luhya counties meeting elders. Word has it that Mudavadi had to summon Sifuna for a dressing up.
Those in the know say that by then, Sifuna and Malala had approached the monied Rai Family which has vast investments in Kakamega to sponsor the activities of the lobby, something that Raila was briefed about. The lobby activities have since fizzled out. Whereas Malala was said to enjoy the support of Sifuna who lured him from ANC, against Oparanya the ODM deputy leader’s wishes, the senator did not respect the governor as expected. ODM is now said to favour Barasa for Kakamega governorship race 2022. In ANC, Savula being a top party official is set to land the ticket. With his latest move, analysts are asking which party ticket Malala will use if he decides to go for the governorship. Former senator Bonnie Khalwale also in the race is angling to William Ruto and will definitely bag Ruto’s party ticket.