Lonely man leading Kakamega vows to make a mark

Thursday, February 2nd, 2023 07:30 | By
Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa.
Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa. PHOTO/Courtesy

It is not a walk in the park for Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa as he faces increased pressure from a section of fellow leaders.

Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale is leading an onslaught against the governor over accusations that he is engaged in favouritism.

Barasa is cutting a lonely figure as he fights to fit into the murky political world.

His deputy, Ayub Savula, an old hand in politics, is more visible and attractive to fellow leaders and the residents. His office is always a hive of activity, compared to that of the governor.

Political analysts said yesterday that the piling pressure on Barasa could either cost him heavily in 2027 or secure him a second term, depending on how he navigates the current turbulence.

“Governor Barasa has been in the corporate world where things run smoothly due to well laid-down structures and procedures. But politics is another world and he should learn to move fast and steady the vessel if he expects to secure a second term,” said Fred Wesonga, a local political commentator.

The county chief is facing pressure from Khalwale, on one hand, and  from group that coalesces around Azimio.

Another mounting opposition is from former Senator Cleophas Malalah, who is back with his soccer tournament that helped endear him to the masses, especially the youth, ahead of the last polls.

Malalah lost to Barasa in the polls and is expected to vie against him again in 2027.

Dr Khalwale accuses Barasa of favouring the southern part of the county in his recent appointments.“He has appointed his relatives and cronies as chief executive officers (CECs) and chief officers while marginalising other parts of the county, especially the central zone,” he said yesterday.

Also opposed to the governor’s style of leadership is, among other people, Women Representative Elsie Muhanda.

But the governor’s supporters dismissed the accusations, telling Khalwale and other critics to give him time to discharge his duties.

“Some of these people demanded favours from the governor. They thought he was a malleable person who could be armtwisted at will. It has since dawned on them that they were wrong, sparking this hue and cry,” said Likuyani MP Innocent Mugabe.

Mugabe urged his fellow leaders to take a cue from him, as he never felt shortchanged when he was dropped as Barasa’s runningmate prior to the August 9 polls.  Mugabe opted to vie for MP seat and won.

Yesterday, the governor said he was facing challenges due to poor remittance of funds to counties. “

We are not the only county that is facing challenges due to poor cash flows from the National Treasury. This is a countrywide problem and we are working hard  to remedy the situation,” said Barasa, who chairs the Committee of Finance at the Council of Governors.

More on News