Battle lines are drawn pitting Deputy President William Ruto and opposition chief Raila Odinga ahead of the Council of Governors elections slated for Monday.
Both the DP and Raila are keen to hold sway at the influential body that brings together all the 47 county governors.
CoG chairman Wycliffe Oparanya, who enjoys close ties with Raila, is seeking to retain his position for a final second term after serving for the past year.
Oparanya was elected by his colleagues last year in January to take over from Turkana’s Josphat Nanok who led the council for two years.
However, governors allied to the DP are said to be scheming to oust Oparanya in Monday’s polls that will be held by secret ballot at a hotel in Nairobi.
The Star understands that Ruto’s camp is pushing for Mandera’s Ali Roba to take over the reins at Delta House.
Outspoken Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago, who is considered among Ruto’s key allies, is being fronted as the council’s vice-chairman.
Oparanya has become an influential figure in Western politics and among the strongest proponents of the BBI spearheaded by Raila and President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Council’s vice chairman Mwangi Wa Iria (Murang’a), who has become a fierce critic of the DP, is being fronted by Raila’s allies to retain his position.
Allegiances around the handshake and the Building Bridges Initiative are likely to play out during the poll.
According to a report by the star ,With opposition governors having closed ranks with a faction within the ruling Jubilee party, Oparanya and his lineup are expected to have an easy ride.
Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana is keen to retain his position as the council’s whip.
Currently, up to 30 governors coalesce around the BBI push, a huge numerical strength that could play to the advantage of Raila’s bid to continue holding sway at the CoG.
“Preparations for the elections are ongoing. Governors will conduct their elections peacefully the way they have always done before,” Oparanya said.
The President is said to be keen on having Oparanya retain his seat out of fear that installing a highly critical regime at CoG could disrupt his programmes.
His Big Four agenda mostly touch on devolved functions and by having a friendlier ally at the council, Uhuru will easily push for his plans without resistance.
The elections will be overseen by the CoG’s secretariat headed by Chief Executive Officer Jackeline Mogeni.
The elections come against the backdrop of claims that Oparanya’s regime was plagued by delayed disbursement of funds to counties. The CoG was last year compelled to move to the Supreme Court after Parliament failed to enact the Division of Revenue bill, 2019.
The council is a non-partisan organisation established under the Intergovernmental Relations law to promote visionary leadership, ensure the sharing of best practices and offer collective consultation on matters concerning county governments.