Ex-Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya narrates ordeal at the hands of EACC officers
Former Kakamenga governor Wycliffe Oparanya has spoken about his ordeal in the hands of police and Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) investigators following the recent twin raid on his Nairobi and Butere homes.
The EACC has since announced the raid, and his subsequent appearance at Integrity Center which houses the EACC offices, was in connection with his alleged embezzlement of Sh 1.3 billion during his tenure as governor between 2013 and 2022.
The politician’s two wives and children were also caught up in the crosshairs of the investigators.
Police carted away documents and gadgets from his home as the opposition Azimio la Umoja – One Kenya Coalition decried the raid and seizure of Mr Oparanya’s properties as a political witch hunt instigated by the Kenya Kwanza government.
However, speaking earlier this week, Mr Oparanya said neither the police nor the EACC officers arrested him.
Rather, he says he had to follow the investigators to their offices to retrieve several of his family’s mobile phones which had been seized during the raid.
He also claimed he was questioned on his dealings with opposition leader Raila Odinga.
“They came to my house at 8am and opened the door and asked ‘Is there a gun here?’ I told them I personally don’t have a gun,” Mr Oparanya told a congregation.
The former governor also revealed the officer wanted to know what business he does with Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga and how much money he had in his house.
“I told them I don’t do business with Raila, we politick together… I told them I had Sh 2 million that I was going to pay fees for my child to go to America and I was going to buy dollars with it,” he recounted.
He narrated how the officers took away his phones and those of his family members.
“They looked around the entire house and also the one in Butere. They took all the phones including those belonging to my children. Those phones are the ones that prompted me to go to Integrity Center because my children were upset and they wanted their phones. They claimed they had noted down all the phones they had taken and I couldn’t take them back unless I spoke to their boss. That is why I went there, to pick those phones. I waited until they handed them over and I left after that,” Oparanya said.
The ODM deputy party leader leader also faulted the media for reporting that he had been arrested.
“When I had entered there, media reported Oparanya had been arrested. I wasn’t arrested,” he said.
“They had also taken mama Priscilla’s phone. She was in one room and I was in another – I didn’t even know she was there following up on her phone. I told them that if they wanted to question me, they should give me their questions so that I can plan myself and when I would be ready, I would come back to them,” he said.
Oparanya also said he been asked to go back to Integrity Center in the second week of September 2023.
“That is what we are waiting for. All these other things reported in the media was the plan of these other people,” he said.
Following the incident, Nation.Africa reported that Mr Oparanya claimed that the Kenya Kwanza administration was using graft allegations against him to get him to support the government and end his loyalty to Mr Odinga as many opposition politicians have done in recent months.
“Kenya Kwanza wants me to join the government and abandon the opposition. (President) Ruto has (Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia) Mudavadi and (Speaker Moses) Wetang’ula. Let him stick to them and leave me alone. No amount of intimidation will make me abandon my loyalty to Raila Odinga,” Oparanya said last week.
There have been claims that President Ruto wants Mr Oparanya to be his point man in the vote-rich Western Kenya region which has always been an opposition stronghold. This is despite already having Mudavadi, Wetang’ula and a host of other Mulembe nation politicians in his camp.
Last week, the President met several politicians from Western Kenya as UDA Secretary General Cleophas Malala increased his efforts to popularize the party at the grassroots level in the region.
This move did not go down well with Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale who claimed that this meeting, in which Mudavadi and Wetang’ula were absent, undermined their positions as the region’s strongest leaders and he would not stand for it.
Senator Khalwale further claimed that President Ruto only got votes from a section of Western Kenya because he agreed to back either Mudavadi or Wetang’ula to succeed him when his presidency came to an end.