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The Kakamega governor has been thrust into the limelight after he held a meeting with Deputy President

What you need to know:
As a trusted Odingaman, it is unlikely that Mr Oparanya’s sudden about turn on the referendum and his meeting with the DP was an aberration.
Until his appointment as Chief Administrative Secretary, Mr Lawrence Omuhaka was the chief finance officer in the Wycliffe Oparanya-led Kakamega county government.
Many in Kakamega believe the governor engineered the appointment as a way of clearing the way for his return to Butere as an MP and a possible return to the Cabinet in the event the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) constitutional changes are effected.

The governor was Butere MP from 2002 to 2013, rising to the Cabinet.

In pushing for Mr Omuhaka’s appointment, the governor was not destroying an opponent.

Since the March 4 Matungu by-election won by the ANC candidate, Governor Oparanya has toned down his support for the BBI.

He argues that the economic hardships faced by Kenyans as a result of the pandemic make it difficult to hold a referendum.

He recently said the money set aside for the BBI plebiscite should be used to fight coronavirus.

“It is not tenable to conduct a referendum 12 months to the General Election,” he said, adding that the country should also be focused on dealing with its huge public debt.

Trusted odingaman
Mr Oparanya maintains that the Orange Democratic Movement was robbed of victory in Matungu “by powerful people in the government who want to ruin my political future”.

It is not clear if his plan to return to Parliament still stands.

The Kakamega governor has been thrust into the limelight after he held a meeting with Deputy President William Ruto on Wednesday.

While he maintains the meeting was not planned, there are indications that he was an emissary, dispatched by ODM leader Raila Odinga deliver a message to a future political ally.

Yet, his denial is hardly convincing. As a trusted Odingaman, it is unlikely that Mr Oparanya’s sudden about turn on the referendum and his meeting with the DP was an aberration.

It was a choreographed plan by ODM to demonstrate that it has many options in the face of growing attempts to push the party out of the March 9, 2018 handshake deal between the President and Mr Odinga.

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