Gov Oparanya: I'm ready for the Treasury job

Wycliffe Oparanya

Governor Wycliffe Oparanya addresses an Azimio la Umoja rally at Lusheya market in Mumias on January 22, 2022.
 

Photo credit: Isaac Wale | Nation Media Group

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya has expressed his willingness to head the Treasury ministry if the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition forms the next government.

Mr Oparanya said he would use the position to revive stalled projects initiated by the national government across the country, and particularly in the Western region, and prepare himself for a future presidential run.

He had announced he would contest the presidency this year but dropped his bid in favour of Azimio la Umoja One Kenya presidential flag-bearer Raila Odinga following a consultative meeting with him and President Uhuru Kenyatta.

He said he was still nursing his presidential ambitions and that serving in the government in an influential position would help him reorganise himself and revive his bid at the right time.

Mr Odinga on May 16 unveiled a team that would help him govern Kenya if he succeeds President Kenyatta, naming Mr Oparanya as a possible Treasury Cabinet Secretary.

Other potential ministers named included Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho (Lands) and Peter Munya (Agriculture).

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka would become Chief Cabinet Secretary, akin to the role of prime minister, and former National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende would take up the same role in the Senate.

Speaking in his Butere backyard, Mr Oparanya said he was ready for the Treasury position.

He faulted the current Treasury leadership, saying they had starved counties of development funds leading to collapse of key projects.

“The economy of the Western region has collapsed because major projects that were identified to benefit locals did not take up or stalled along the way because they failed to be funded,” he lamented.

Stalled projects

Under President Kenyatta’s administration, Western Kenya was set to benefit from multimillion-shilling projects, including reviving collapsed sugar industries, upgrading roads and rehabilitating airstrips.

The government had also promised to revive the cotton industry in the region with a focus on promoting the BT cotton variety.

A third border post was also expected to be opened at Muluanda in Funyula to boost trade between Kenya and Uganda.

The Western region relies on cane farming but major sugar industries have collapsed during the reign of Mr Kenyatta.

A sugar task force co-chaired by Mr Oparanya and former Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri submitted to the President recommendations for reviving the ailing sugar sector but the report has not been published.

Mr Oparanya said he would use the Treasury position to allocate funds for development projects.

"I can assure you that all the stalled projects that we have been struggling to revive such as Mumias Sugar Company and roads, among others, will be revived immediately," he said.

He urged residents of the region to support him and rally behind Mr Odinga’s presidential bid in the August 9 elections so that they can achieve their political and development agenda in the Azimio government.

He said Kenya needs change in order to turn around the ailing economy and alleviate the suffering of citizens caused by bad leadership.

He rallied residents to vote for ODM candidates so as to give Mr Odinga numerical strength in Parliament.

"Our President will need MPs in both Houses to help him run government business and push his agenda,” he said.

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