ODM’s Fernandes Barasa Beats Cleophas Malala in Kakamega Governor Race

Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa
Kakamega Governor, Fernandes Barasa

Fernandes Barasa of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party won the Kakamega gubernatorial seat in a hotly contested election held on Monday, August 30.

Barasa garnered 192,929 votes against his closest competitor, former Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala of the Amani National Congress (ANC) who got 159, 508 votes.

Malala conceded defeat and thanked the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for carrying out a free, fair and credible election process.

"There is no vote that was rigged and I thank IEBC for doing a good job," Malala stated.

In his acceptance speech, Barasa thanked the people of Kakamega for exercising their democratic right by giving him a chance to serve them as their next governor.

He battled it out with five other aspirants among them Maendeleo Development Party leader Sam Omukoko who polled, Cyrus Jirongo (UDP), Suleman Sumba (KANU), Austine Opitso and Michael Osundwa.

Barasa’s Profile 

After completing his O level at Naitiri High School in Bungoma County, the first time politician joined Kenyatta University in 1993 to pursue a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Accounting and graduated in 1997. 

Kakamega Givernor-elect Fernandes Barasa and his ODM party boss Raila Odinga during a public rally on August 26, 2022
Kakamega governor-elect Fernandes Barasa and ODM party leader, Raila Odinga, at a public rally on August 26, 2022

While pursuing his studies, he was privileged to exercise leadership roles when he was elected the Chairman of Commerce Accounting Students Association (CASA) in 1996-1997.

He got his first job as an assistant accountant at Kenya Airways (KQ) in 1997.

Barasa resigned from his high-flying job as the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO) to join politics in February 2022.

The corporate leader-turned politician previously worked for Kenya Tea Development Agency Limited (KTDA), Kenya Airways and East Africa Reinsurance.

This marks his first stab into the brutal world of politics and takes over from the outgoing governor Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya who has managed the county's affairs for ten years.

His win has cemented Azimio La Umoja One Kenya coalition's dominance in the Western region which now commands four out of five counties.

They include Paul Otuoma of Busia County (ODM), Dr. Wilber Ottichilo of Vihiga (ODM), George Natembeya of Trans Nzoia (DAP-K), save for Bungoma County where former Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka recaptured the seat on Ford Kenya ticket, beating Wycliffe Wamatangi of DAP-K. 

Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala addressing a crowd in a past rally on February 26, 2022
Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala addressing a crowd in a past rally on February 26, 2022
Cleophas Malala