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Oparanya offers to work with rivals as he starts second term

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya has offered to work with those who tried to unseat him during the elections, saying he had already forgiven them.

In what looked like a reference to his main opponent, former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale, Mr Oparanya said: “Some of [my] challengers have used funerals to insult me and claim that I am a Teso. I want to tell them I have forgiven them.”

He asked elected leaders from the county to join hands with him and stop using funerals to insult and undermine their opponents.

Mr Oparanya, who was accompanied by his two wives, Priscilla and Caroline, said politicians who frequented funerals and turned them into campaign platforms were giving the Luhya community a bad name and image.

He spoke after being sworn into office by Kitale Presiding Judge Justice Hilary Chemitei and Kakamega Chief Magistrate Bildad Ochieng.

The colourful event was attended by 11 MPs-elect including Jubilee’s Malulu Injendi (Malava), Bernard Shinali (Ikolomani) and Emmanuel Wangwe (Navakholo).

The chairperson of the National Gender and Equality Commission Winfred Lichuma and the Principal Secretary for Broadcasting and Telecommunications Sammy Itemere were also present.

WARNED COUNTY EMPLOYEES

Mr Oparanya warned that he would not spare county executive committee members who fail to deliver after being appointed to serve in the positions.

“Those who think my government will be a holiday resort when they are appointed to serve the public in key positions are in for a rude shock. They should know there will be no room for people who do not take their work seriously,” warned the governor.

He said the revival of the cash-strapped Mumias Sugar Company will be one of his top priorities so as to ensure that communities in the region are not consigned to poverty due to the collapse of the miller.

“Mumias Sugar is a major economic lifeline for communities in Kakamega and other counties in western region. As elected leaders, we shall do everything possible to ensure the sugar factory does not collapse,” said Mr Oparanya.

He said his next task would be to craft an effective team that will serve in his cabinet to enable him deliver on the development pledges he made during his re-election campaign.

CARTELS

Mr Oparanya further pledged to act tough on corrupt officials colluding with cartels to fleece the county government of resources through suspect deals.

He said voters in the county had shown their overwhelming support for his leadership by re-electing him for a second term and promised not to let them down.

“My focus in the next five years will be to build on the solid development record my administration has put in place to complete all the key projects initiated by the county government to make Kakamega a better place than it is,” said Mr Oparanya.

He said ECDE learning would be free from January 2018 and his administration would focus on enhancing supply of clean water and electricity to communities.

The governor said two sub-county hospitals being constructed by the county government in Shinyalu and Mumias will be operational by the end of 2016.

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