On August 9, 2022, Kenyans will take to the polls to elect the country’s fifth president.

On paper, Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga are the frontrunners in the race to State House, but many expected outgoing governors to throw their hat in the ring as well.

Despite devolved counties having been hailed as nurturing grounds for the country’s next president, a number of governors have openly declared their support for either Ruto or Odinga.

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya last year declared his desire to vie for the presidency in 2022 under the ODM party ticket, but he has visibly been a part of Odinga’s procession during the former premier’s many tours of the country in recent months.

Speaking on Citizen TV’s News Night show on Tuesday, the ODM Deputy party leader clarified that he applied to run for presidency under the ODM party ticket and paid the required Ksh.1 million to facilitate his application but the party has since gone mum.

“As a party, ODM has its own nomination procedures. In one of the meetings we agreed to nominate our presidential candidates as early as possible so that our members can know the presidential candidates,” Oparaya said.

“I paid the Ksh.1 million and we were told that was the height of COVID-19 so we could not be allowed to meet delegates and campaign and then we were told that our application could not be processed for that purpose and thereafter we have not gotten information.”

Oparanya nevertheless said that should his application be processed before the party announces its presidential candidate, presumably next year, then he might still have a shot at the presidency.

Oparanya also underscored that based on the following Odinga commands, it should come as no surprise if he decides to abandon his aspirations to support him.

On his part, former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto underscored that governors should be in no rush to vie for the country’s top job but should instead bide their time and gain valuable experience.

“I don’t think it is urgent for the governors to contest for the presidency. The work of a governor is a full-time job. It is like the parliamentary or senatorial seat where one can get involved in politics heavily,” he said.  

Ruto however cautioned governors who are actively participating in presidential campaigns to stop abandoning their posts and focus their efforts on development instead.

“A governor is a CEO of a specific county and it would be a waste of resources of the specific county where he represents if he were to be absent that would be similar to abdicating his duties,” he said.

“I think it is important for the government to pay attention to the nitty-gritty of development of the counties they actually lead as of now therefore it would not be most appropriate for governors to touch on presidential campaigns.”

By Citizen Digital