Throughout his political career, Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya, has held several prominent positions, rising from a little-known Member of Parliament to a man wielding immense power.
The now seasoned politician shot to the limelight after the 2002 General Election, when the NARC wave ended the then President, Daniel Moi’s 24 years’ rule.
Schemes by Moi to handover the presidency to Uhuru Kenyatta, who was still a political infant did not work – KANU was sent into not only political oblivion but also a life-threatening coma.
Moreover, the transition from KANU to NARC gave birth to a new crop of politicians, including Oparanya, the man from Emabole, within the inner core of Butere Constituency.
Oparanya morphed into a political genius, holding powerful positions including flying a ministerial flag as his bond with the opposition Chief Raila Odinga became stronger.
Butere MP, 2002-2012
Oparanya’s political journey began in 2002 when he was elected as the Member of Parliament for Butere Constituency
He dethroned Amukowa Anangwe who had been a minister in Moi’s government and went on to serve as MP for ten years.
During his time as an MP, he actively engaged in legislative matters and advocated for the interests of his constituents.
Further, his ability to connect with voters and address their concerns earned him respect and recognition on the national stage.
Oparanya was also hailed for prudent management of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
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Oparanya in Cabinet
In 2008, the Late President Mwai Kibaki appointed Oparanya as the Minister for Planning and Vision 2030.
This was during the Coalition Government where Oparanya’s party leader, Raila Odinga served as the Prime Minister.
Oparanya held this position up to 2012, when Kibaki’s second term ended.
In this role, he played a crucial part in Kenya’s long-term development strategy, known as Vision 2030.
Kenya Vision 2030 is the long-term development blueprint for the country and is motivated by a collective aspiration for a better society by the year 2030.
The aim of Kenya Vision 2030 is to create “a globally competitive and prosperous country with a high quality of life by 2030”.
It aims to transform Kenya into “a newly-industrializing, middle income country providing a high quality of life to all its citizens in a clean and secure environment”.
Pioneer Governor of Kakamega County
One of Oparanya’s most significant roles has been as the Governor of Kakamega County, a position he held between 2013 and 2022.
Governor Oparanya was elected as the pioneer governor of Kakamega County during the elections of March 4, 2013.
In the 2017 elections, he defended his seat against Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale.
In addition, Oparanya was named as one of the best performing governors on multiple occasions.
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ODM Deputy Party Leader
In party politics, Oparanya has served as ODM deputy party leader since 2014.
His close association with Raila Odinga has seen him retain the position until to date.
Oparanya has also played a key role within the ODM party and has been Raila’s pointman in Western Kenya.
6. COG Chairman
COG comprises of the Governors of the forty-seven Counties.
Among the functions of COG is to deepen devolution through coordination, consultation, information sharing, capacity building, performance management, and dispute resolution.
Other functions are the promotion of visionary leadership; sharing of best practices and offer a collective voice on policy issues and promote inter–county consultations.
Also, COG encourages and initiates information sharing on the performance of County Governments regarding the execution of their functions, collective consultation on matters of interest to County Governments.
Currently, Oparanya is the Chairman of the Azimio One Kenya Alliance Coalition.
The coalition, which brings together several parties, serves as the official opposition party.
Oparanya has been very vocal in criticizing the Kenya Kwanza especially on the cost of living, and leading anti-government protests.
Police arrested him twice, for his involvement in the opposition demos and for alleged fraud during his term as governor.
Oparanya holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting option) and an MBA (Finance) from the University of Nairobi.
Further, Oparanya is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) as well as numerous other professional bodies.
Also, Oparanya has 23 years’ experience in local and international Finance Management, Audit and Business Consultancy.