Bungoma politicians jostle for Wetang’ula’s Senate seat as he eyes Speaker’s post

Bungoma Senator-Elect and Ford Kenya party leader Moses Wetangula.

Bungoma Senator-Elect and Ford Kenya party leader Moses Wetangula.

Photo credit: Brian Ojamaa | Nation Media Group

Soon after Dr William Ruto was declared the winner of last week’s presidential polls, political players in Western Kenya shifted their focus to Bungoma County, where a by-election could be held if Kenya Kwanza pre-poll deals are honoured.

Mr Wetang’ula, the Bungoma senator-elect, reached a pact under which the position of Speaker of the National Assembly would go to him if Dr Ruto won the presidency. 

Article 106 of the Constitution stipulates: “There shall be a Speaker for each House of Parliament, who shall be elected by that House in accordance with the Standing Orders, from among persons who are qualified to be elected as members of Parliament but are not such members.”

Mr Wetang’ula, the Ford Kenya party leader, and Amani National Congress boss Musalia Mudavadi also agreed with Dr Ruto that the Mulembe Nation would have a 30 percent share of government spoils.

Deal condition

The deal had one condition: Mr Wetang’ula and Mr Mudavadi had to deliver 70 percent of the Luhya votes to Dr Ruto. 

Mr Wetang’ula delivered 90 percent of Bungoma votes to Dr Ruto, with Kenya Kwanza winning seven out of the nine MP seats, the top three positions of governor, woman rep and senator, and a majority of MCAs. 

The Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition managed to bag only two MP seats in the county – in Sirisia and Bumula – with Mr Odinga getting 136,832 votes and Dr Ruto 231,860. 

Flexing muscles

Politicians in Bungoma’s nine constituencies have begun flexing their muscles on the Bungoma senator seat, which Mr Wetangula retained for a third term in a row in a resounding victory.

He received 286,146 votes, defeating five other contestants. His opponents included Prof Charles Ngome (DAP-K), Mr Jacob Machacha (Federal Party), Rev Herman Kasili (UDP) and Mr Lawrence Sifuna (ODM).

Eyeing the seat

Those touted for the seat include former Bumula MP Mwambu Mabonga (UDA), who lost to Jack Wamboka (DAP-K) in last week’s polls.

Bungoma senator Moses Wetangula and former Bumula Mp Mwambu Mabonga at Deputy President William Rutos Karen home

Bungoma Senator-Elect Moses Wetangula and former Bumula MP Mwambu Mabonga at the Karen home of President-Elect William Ruto on Wednesday August 17, 2022.

Photo credit: Courtesy | Pool

His handlers told the Nation.Africa that the MP had been asked to join Ford Kenya and seek the seat if Mr Wetang’ula is picked as National Assembly Speaker. 

Flamboyant businessman Lendrix Waswa has also declared that he will contest the seat if a by-election be called. 

Mr Waswa said he has what it takes to take over Mr Wetang’ula’s seat and continue with what he said was the latter’s sound oversight and legislation roles.

Mr Aggrey Murumba Namisi, who vied for the Webuye East MP race under ODM but lost to Ford Kenya's Martin Wanyonyi Pepela, told Nation.Africa that he had been asked by elders and some residents from his Tachoni community to seek a truce with Mr Wetang’ula and consider ditching ODM for Ford Kenya and contest the seat. 

But Mr Ngome, Rev Kasili, Mr Sifuna and Mr Machacha say they will decide whether to run again when that time comes.

New dynamics

Depending on what candidate Ford Kenya fields, it and by extension Kenya Kwanza could have the upper hand if a by-election is held, political analyst Isaac Wanjekeche told Nation.Africa.

"Those who contested in the General Election might face some totally new dynamics after the presidential outcome that declared Dr Ruto the winner," Mr Wanjekeche said.

Kenya Kwanza, he said, will fight tooth and nail to retain the seat.

"The entry of new blood in the contest like Mr Waswa, who has a strong grip of the youthful cadre, might attract new dynamics in the contest,” he said.

Political casualties from DAP-K could clutch onto the opportunity for a redemption by fielding a strong candidate, he added.

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