• The photo showing Oparanya alongside two ladies has been used on various online publications and social media platforms.
• The governor indicated that one of the ladies is the Member of County Assembly for Nyamira and the other Member of County Assembly for Kisii.
A photo that has been circulating on social media claiming Kakamega Governor, Wycliffe Oparanya, entered Kisii Stadium with his two wives is misleading.
The photo showing Oparanya alongside two ladies has been used on various online publications and social media platforms.
“Leaders arrived in style as the majority of them were in the company of their wives. But something that was noticed by Kenyans was the two women that accompanied the Kakamega governor Oparanya,” read part of the article.
It further read, “The chair of the council of governors and an ODM member came in style with his two wives. Kenyans have applauded him as a true gentleman for his act. He showed Kenyans and leaders at large that polygamy wasn't something to be ashamed of”.
Another online publication Breaking News.co.ke, splashed a headline dubbed, ‘Kenyans Admire the Love between Oparanya’s Two Wives after they accompanied Him to the Mashujaa Day Celebration’.
According to the article, Kenyans were left adoring the harmonious relationship that the two wives portrayed at the ceremony.
“The two women were pictured walking beside the Head of the council of Governors as they made their way to the VIP podium. This is deemed as a rare occurrence since many polygamous families are often marred with chaos and unending competition,” the article read.
“Priscillah Oparanya and Caroline Oparanya have now left Kenyan women in polygamous marriages picking lessons of peaceful coexistence. The two have been serving as the first ladies of the Oparanya led county for a period of 8 years now. The ODM party leader has umpteenth terms warned his opponents not to use his marriage status to dissuade voters.”
The article goes on to reference other political leaders in polygamous marriages like outspoken Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi and Cotu boss Francis Atwoli.
A Twitter user Disembe Disembe also posted the photo on his timeline saying “I gather that Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya attended Mashujaa Day with his two wives. Reminds me of Budalangi MP Raphael Wanjala and his battle with the Parliamentary Service Commission to provide medical cover to all his wives and their children”.
As a result, Disembe said African men must decently normalise the institution of polygamy, a very important social institution at a time the ratio of men to women in Kenya isn’t even.
“LUHYA men are trying. Wanjala, Atwoli, Oparanya. Better than that wheelbarrow guy with his 30 kids and hidden mothers,” he said.
But the Star’s fact-check desk established that the two ladies are MCAs and not Oparanya’s wives.
We reached out to the governor who indicated that one of the ladies is the Member of County Assembly for Nyamira and the other Member of County Assembly for Kisii.
“I was in a convoy that had left Kisii Governor James Ongwae’s home where we spent the night. On arrival at the gate, we had to alight for security screening. When I was cleared I made my way to the stadium and coincidentally we found ourselves walking side by side,” the governor said.
He said the two nominated MCAs are equally surprised to read in social media that they are being referred to as his wives.
The Star could not however immediately identify the two MCAs.
The governor sent us a photo of him alongside his two wives just to settle the matter.
The Star concludes that the claim that Oparanya arrived at the ceremony in the company of his two wives is therefore misleading.
This story was produced by The Star in partnership with Code for Africa’s iLAB data journalism programme, with support from Deutsche Welle Akademie.