Former Kakamega governor Dr Boni Khalwale is a vocal influential politician who has been in politics since 2002 when he successfully ran for Ikolomani Member of Parliament seat on a Forum Of Restoration and Democracy Kenya (FORD-Kenya) ticket. He also managed to defend his seat in 2007 on the same party's ticket.
He ditched FORD-Kenya for Musalia Mudavadi's defunct United Democratic Front (UDF). He used UDF to run for Kakamega gubernatorial seat in 2013. He succeeded.
Dr Khalwale rejoined FORD-Kenya and contested for Kakamega gubernatorial seat in 2022. Nevertheless, the incumbent governor Wycliffe Oparanya beat him hands down.
Later, Dr Khalwale joined deputy president Dr William Ruto's camp and announced that he would be running for Kakamega's gubernatorial seat in 2022.
Traditionally, Kakamega and the entire Western Kenya has been an opposition zone. Defacto leaders from the region including Amani National Congress (ANC) and Bungoma senator Moses Wetangula among others have been in opposition. In 2017, Mudavadi and Wetangula were in the company of Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga in National Super Alliance coalition which was defeated in general elections and became opposition.
Governor Wycliffe Oparanya who is the current deputy party leader of ODM has served for two and is set to quit gubernatorial race in 2022.
Several aspirants have shown interest in succeeding Oparanya. However, one factor that would influence a winner includes allegiance to the region's political defacto leaders among them:
1) Musalia Mudavadi - ANC party leader
Musalia Mudavadi is the Abaluhyia community defacto leader. He is almost edging out Raila from Western Kenya ahead of 2022.
His party ANC has 14 MPs and 3 senators in Western Kenya. He gunning for the country's top seat in 2022 polls and could be the best bet for the region's residents in the contest.
Therefore, Dr Khalwale should consider working with Mudavadi if he wants his chances of succeeding Oparanya be leveraged.
2) Wycliffe Oparanya - Kakamega governor
Wycliffe Oparanya has won Kakamega gubernatorial elections twice (in 2013 and 2017). He even trounced Dr Khalwale who was running on FORD-Kenya party ticket in 2017.
Khalwale should work with Oparanya uch that he adds the governor's voters to his basket which would make him win 2022 gubernatorial seat easily.
3) Moses Wetangula - Bungoma senator
Moses Wetangula is the second most popular Luhyia leader. His party FORD-Kenya has majority of MPs in Bungoma, others in Trans Nzoia and Kisii counties.
Since Wetangula is among Luhyia politicians who command a large following in the region, Dr Khalwale reconsider working with him ahead of 2022.
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