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OPINON POLL : Ottichilo, Agoi and Akaranga most preferred candidates for Vihiga 2022 gubernatorial race

Inside Hot Vihiga politics

By Collins Matubwi


Vihiga County is found in Western Region of Kenya and it has five constituencies namely Luanda, Emuhaya, Hamisi, Sabatia and Vihiga.

The county has a population of over 700,000 people with majority of them being youths aged between 15-49 years.

Since the inception of the devolved system of governance in 2013, the county has had two governors namely Rev. Moses Akaranga (2013-2017) and Dr Wilber Ottichilo (2017 – 2022).

Vihiga Governor Dr Wiliber Ottichilo

With only 487 days remaining to the 2022 General Elections, candidates drawn from across the county have come out seeking to take over the mantle of leadership in 2022.

From the findings, if elections was to be held today, Governor Wilber Ottichilo who is serving his first term will still be elected for a second term with 29.19 per cent (538 votes)  supporting his bid followed by Sabatia Member of Parliament Alfred Agoi at 27.81 per cent (513 votes).

To understand the political dynamics of the county, County Splash News conducted an opinion poll with the motive of determining who was the most preferred candidate if elections were to held today.

Research Methodology

The opinion poll was conducted between March 9 – April 13 2021 through through telephone interviews, one on one interviews with the locals and filing of questionnaires.

The sample size was 2000 respondents to represent 350,000 people who are eligible voters in the county.

Sabatia MP and Vihiga gubernatorial hopeful Alfred Agoi

The research was conducted in all the five counties of Vihiga and a total of 1845 people were interviewed.


From the findings, if elections was to be held today, Governor Wilber Ottichilo who is serving his first term will still be elected for a second term with 29.19 per cent (538 votes)  supporting his bid followed by Sabatia Member of Parliament Alfred Agoi at 27.81 per cent (513 votes).

Former Governor Moses Akaranga emerged at the third position with 21.53 per cent (397) of the sampled population followed by former Vihiga MP Yusuf Chanzu at 7.03 per cent (130 votes).

Former Vihiga Governor Moses Akaranga

 Alex Kidake who is coming into politics for the first time was at the fifth position with 3.21 per cent (59 votes) while Former County Secretary Francis Ominde came at the sixth position with 1.13 per cent (21 votes) of the respondents that were interviewed.

 Dr Jairus Amayi and Helen Otolo came at seventh and eighth positions respectively representing 1.01 per cent (19 votes) and 0.30 per cent (6 votes) of the sampled population while of the respondents respectively while 9.79 per cent (162 votes) were undecided.

The margin of error was (-2) or (+2) at 97 per cent degree of confidence and the response rate was 92.25 per cent.


 Dr Wilber Ottichilo (Current Governor)

  According to the research, Ottichilo’s backyard of the Bunyore voting bloc in Luanda and Emuhaya constituencies is still intact as majority of those interviewed supported his bid for a second term on grounds that he needs to complete the development projects he started when he took over power from Akaranga. In the 2017 polls, the two electoral areas gave him at least 60,000 votes.

An ICU facility at Vihiga County Referral hospital that was installed by Governor Ottichilo

 He also has a huge following in Hamisi constituency that houses the Tiriki community where his Deputy Dr Patrick Saisi comes from. Tiriki’s feel since he took over as governor, he has initiated more development projects as compared to his predecessor.

 Some of the projects Ottichilo is banking on to win his second term are among others the multibillion water projects that he has initiated in the county which he says will  increase water coverage to 80 per cent in urban areas and small towns.

Vihiga Governor Wilber Ottichilo giving a cow to a women group to boost milk production in the county

The project has been divided into three clusters namely Maseno Water Project, Lunyerere/ Mbale water project and Kaimosi water project.

The Geospatial Technologies Systems (GTS) is one of Ottichilo’s his successful projects when he took over as governor and helps the county in resource mapping, food security, early warning in case of disasters, monitoring and evaluation of projects

The beautification of Mbale town, upgrading of Luanda town and Kaimosi Complex into municipalities, construction of a modern oxygen plant that produces 300 litres of oxygen per hour and the state of the art ICU facility at Vihiga County Referral hospital and rehabilitation of road networks are some of the projects he is banking on for his reelection.

New ICU beds at Vihiga County hospital

Others are the Ottichilo Care Program that has seen the county record a drastic drop in maternal deaths in the last two years by 70 per cent and the Ottichilo scholarship fund helps needy and bright students’ access education.

His name is well spread in the county and being an incumbent aspirant, he will give the rest of the candidates a run for their money during the electioneering period.

Vihiga Governor Dr Wiliber Ottichilo

He is also banking on Raila Odinga euphoria in the county to bounce back for a second term given that he has been his ardent supporter since he was elected as Emuhaya MP on ODM party.

However, Ottichilo is facing opposition from members of the civil society and the Vihiga County Assembly as majority of the ward reps are from Amani National Congress (ANC).

Others feel that he did not handle the health crisis scandal in the county where medics who were hired and later sacked, went to court and reinstated but some claim they are not receiving their salaries.

Ottichilo will also have to work around the clock to get the support of Maragolis mainly from Vihiga and Sabatia sub counties who feel they got a raw deal in his administration after they supported Akaranga in the last polls.

Ottichilo (third left standing) with Raila Odinga with mic at a past campaign rally

ODM support in the county is waning and this maybe a headache to his candidature.

Hon Alfred Agoi.

The second term MP has a huge following from his Sabatia and Vihiga backyard that is inhabited by Maragolis as well as in Tiriki land. His name is well spread in the county and has financial muscles.

Sabatia MP and Vihiga gubernatorial hopeful Alfred Agoi

Agoi is a dalliance of Musalia Mudavadi since he is not only his ardent support but also a financier of ANC party activities.

In the just concluded Matungu by elections, Agoi supported ANC candidate by giving him money and vehicles to use in the campaigns.

The two term MP has also invested heavily in the education sector in his Sabatia backyard.

A laboratory at Igunga Girls constructed by Sabatia MP Alfred Agoi using NG-CDF kitty

Agoi’s oratory skills puts him above the rest of the candidates and depending on where he will get his running mate, he is a candidate to watch in the 2022 gubernatorial polls.

Agoi is assured of the party ticket and the force that the newly formed alliance of One Kenya will bring in the region complicates the matrix for other candidates.

Musalia Mudavadi (ANC), Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya), Gideon Moi (Kanu) and Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper) are the principals of One Kenya Alliance.

However, Agoi will have to battle it out for the rich Maragoli vote with Akaranga, Chanzu, Ominde and Kidake since they are from the same community.

A tuition block at Keveye Girls constructed by Sabatia MP Alfred Agoi using NG-CDF kitty

Those interviewed from Sabatia where Agoi is MP feels that the lawmaker despite being generous with his resources; he has done very little when it comes to development.

Another undoing is the fact that despite Mudavadi coming from the area, his party (UDF in 2013 and ANC in 2017) has never produced a governor and this may work against him.

Being his first time in the gubernatorial race, Agoi lacks definite political structures and local network in other constituencies. He also lacks good support of local MCAs especially those from Sabatia constituency.

Hon Moses Akaranga

He is the first Governor of Vihiga County and a one term MP of Sabatia constituency who handed Musalia Mudavadi a heavy defeat in the 2002 polls when he (Mudavadi) was Kenya’s vice president.

Akaranga is someone you cannot write off easily and using his little known Progressive Party of Kenya (PPK), he leapfrogged to the governor’s seat in 2013 and handed a heavy defeat to ODM candidate Ken Butiko and UDF’s Dr Jairus Amayi.

Former Vihiga Governor launching the construction of a project at a past function

Being a PPK party leader, he is assured of nomination and has a handful of MCAs who were elected on his party together with the structures he had laid in 2013 and 2017, which will help him to activate his governorship bid.

Governor Ottichilo and Akaranga at a past function

At least 5 per cent of the respondents could associate themselves directly with the fruits of his leadership. As a clergy, Moses Akaranga is bound to enjoy support of religious leaders across the county with whom he relates with quite often. He is also a very outspoken politician.

Kidake believes that the two regimes that have been in power have done little and that he is the best bet to transform county and grow its economy by double digits.

However, currently he lacks the financial muscles to mount a stable and spirited campaign as compared to Ottichilo and Agoi who are endowed with resources.

A PPK office where Akaranga is the party leader

The face of his own PPK party is not as impressive and influential in the region as ANC and ODM that he has to tussle on the ballot. Having served in politics for a long time, Akaranga has a great experience on how to navigate to power; unfortunately, he may have it tough winning the votes of the youths in the area who prefers him to retire from politics.

Akaranga may also have it tough winning the Bunyore votes after dropping his 2013 running mate Caleb Amaswache in the run up to the 2017. He also risks sharing his stronghold of Maragoli votes with Alfred Agoi, Yusuf Chanzu, Alex Kidake and Francis Ominde.

Hon Yusuf Chanzu

He came third in the gubernatorial race in last general elections on an ANC ticket. Having served as a Member of Parliament for Vihiga constituency for over 10years.

Yusuf Chanzu

His name is also well spread in the county and will still use the political structures he had set in 2017 polls.

However, he has not declared if he will be trying his luck again though some of his close allies claim that he will be going for the Vihiga MP Seat currently being held by Ernest Kagesi.

In case he decides to go for the seat, he will have to battle it out with Agoi for the ANC slot and then compete for Maragoli votes with the same Agoi, Kidake, Ominde and Akaranga.

Hon. Alex Kidake

 He is a newcomer in Vihiga politics and his star is rising very fast. Through the Kidake Foundation, his name is spreading in the county like wildfire through his philanthropic work of building houses for the needy, sponsoring students to access education, organising for football tournaments and Expos is what is endearing him to the electorates.

Vihiga gubernatorial hopeful Alex Kidake

 His youthful age gives him a comparative advantage to the rest of the candidates and if he plays his cards well in the remaining 16 months to the next polls, he might give them a rude shock and a run for their money by riding on the youthful votes.

Kidake believes that the two regimes that have been in power have done little and that he is the best bet to transform county and grow its economy by double digits.

Kidake’s name is however not rooted locally across the county given he does not have political wheeler-dealers and definite structures to help him spread his name to the rest of the voters.

Hon. Alex Kidake – Vihiga County 2022 governorship candidate

Being his first time in elective politics, he may find it rough to navigate into the murky waters of divisive Vihiga politics and the issue of having many maragolis in the race may affect his candidature.

Kidake has a future in Vihiga politics and is someone who should not be underrated.

The former county secretary is perceived by electorates as an unfortunate case of betrayal politics where they claim he is out to spoil chances of Governor Ottichilo his former employer.

Dr Jairus Amayi and Hellen are yet to announce if they will be in the race.



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