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Friday, January 22, 2021 – Deputy President William Ruto’s fight with ODM Leader Raila Odinga has taken another turn after it spilt over the governors’ election next week to replace Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya as the chair of the influential governors’ council.

According to sources, Raila and his pro-Building Bridges Initiative team is positioning Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria to take over from Oparanya as the chairman of the Council of Governors while Ruto and his anti-BBI camp have identified Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana as the right man for the job.

Wa Iria has been serving as Oparanya’s vice chairman for the last two years, while Kibwana has been the CoG whip during Oparanya’s reign.

The BBI proponents are also scheming to have Kisii Governor James Ongwae, who has been the long-serving chairman of the Human Resource and labour committee, as the next vice-chairman.

With governors seen as critical players in the Building Bridges Initiative process to amend the constitution, rival camps are plotting to control the CoG ahead of the planned referendum.

The CoG secretariat has confirmed that the election will be held on January 29, but before then, Ruto’s allies are spoiling for a major fight against the perceived handshake proponents.

Oparanya was elected by his colleagues in February 2020 for a second and final term in office through consensus after President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila backed his bid.

Backers of the BBI—which Ruto largely opposes—are said to be scheming on how to install one of their own at the helm of CoG to bolster the referendum push.

CoG chairmanship is a powerful post that serves as a link between the county governments and the national executive and has a lot of leverage, including unfettered access to the president.


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