Inside Politics

Kenya Kwanza slip in Kakamega blamed on Khalwale, Malala spat

Friday, June 24th, 2022 03:16 | By
Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala.
Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala.

Feuds pitting Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala and his predecessor, Boni Khalwale, seem to have jolted Kenya Kwanza’s campaigns in the county.

Malala has reportedly gone back to the drawing board after an opinion poll placed his main rival for the governor seat ahead of him.

The poll by Mizani-Africa predicted that the Azimio-One Kenya candidate Fernandes Barasa would clinch the gubernatorial seat with a margin of 53.5 per cent if the polls were held today.

The survey places Malala second with 39 per cent and former Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo third with 5.4 per cent. The poll predicts that Khalwale would win the senatorial seat with a resounding margin of 62.4 per cent against Brian Lishenga’s 17.5 per cent.

Malala is the ANC candidate while Khalwale is in  UDA — both Kenya Kwanza affiliates. Barasa and Lishenga are in ODM (Azimio).

Efforts to reconcile Malala and Khalwale are yet to bear fruit. The duo has opted to go separate ways, with Khalwale declining to back Malala. This has drawn the ire of the senator’s supporters who want an endorsement of Malala. Yesterday, many leaders and analysts supported the opinion poll while others dismissed it.

“Assuming that I was trailing Khalwale, could he be at 62.4 per cent while I am at 17 per cent? That is exaggerated and biased,” Lishenga told a rally in Ikolomani.

But he agreed with the poll’s prediction of victory for Barasa, Woman Representative Elsie Muhanda and a number of other Azimio contestants.

Ahead of rivals

Khalwale, Malava MP Malulu Injendi and the ANC candidate for Shinyalu parliamentary seat, Fred Ikana, are the only Kenya Kwanza contenders placed ahead of their rivals in the poll.

The rest are allied to Azimio. The county has 12 constituencies and 60 wards.

“The differences between Malala and Khalwale are hurting Kenya Kwanza,” said analyst Desterio Okumu. Malala is campaigning alongside Connie Lusweti, (ANC Woman Representative candidate), while Khalwale is with Hadijah Nganyi of UDA.

The Azimio team, meanwhile, continues to campaign together. They appear to have ignored governor aspirant Jirongo and Woman Rep candidate Naomi Shiyonga, who are in Azimio.

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