Flamboyant Bungoma politician Moses Nandalwe, popularly known locally as “Mr Moneybags”, has ditched Azimio One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) for Moses Wetang’ula’s Ford Kenya in the Bungoma senatorial race.
Mr Nandalwe is eyeing the seat that fell vacant after Mr Wetang’ula landed the National Assembly Speaker’s post.
Others who have shown interest in the seat are Democratic Action Party-Kenya (DAP-K) leader and former Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi, businessman and farmer Lendrix Waswa of Mutengene Resort, Mr Wetang’ula’s long-serving aide Wafula Wakoli and Mr Jacob Machacha, a former aspirant for the seat.
Mr Nandalwe, a three-time unlucky parliamentary aspirant for Sirisia constituency, told Nation.Africa that he decided to vie for the coveted seat after consultations with delegations from across the county.
“I have been receiving delegations from various factions across Bungoma County persuading me to represent the people of Bungoma in the Senate,” he said.
The 35-year-old politician was a student leader at the University of Nairobi.
He said he has talked to his former boss, Mr Odinga, about his move and why he decided to run under Ford Kenya.
Flamboyant and philanthropic
Mr Nandalwe is locally known for his flamboyance and philanthropic tendencies, often dishing out cash to voters. He is riding on his development record in Sirisia constituency through the Nandalwe Foundation, which he feels has endeared him to residents.
“Many of them want me to extend my charity activities to the other regions of Bungoma and that can be achieved best if I am elected senator,” he said.
He offers free ambulance services to residents and has set up an ICT centre for the youth, women and youth programmes under his foundation and school bursaries.
But he says he understands that joining Ford Kenya after ditching ODM does not guarantee him an automatic party nomination
“I know Ford Kenya is where I started and I am just coming back to pick from where I started and will be open to the party nomination process,” he said.
Mr Nandalwe lost his bid for the seat to Mr John Waluke of Jubilee in the August 9 elections, but he claimed he was a victim of Bungoma residents’ anger against Mr Odinga and it had nothing to do with him personally.
“We all know that the people of Bungoma wanted to punish Mr Odinga because they wrongly believed he had a hand in [a failed attempt to oust Mr Wetang’ula] as Ford Kenya party leader," he said.
“When residents voted to punish Mr Odinga, there was no [other choice] but to become a casualty for vying on his ODM party, and I respect the people’s voice.”
If he feels dissatisfied with the Ford Kenya nomination process, he said, he can run as an independent candidate.
The politician said he supports Mr Wetang’ula and Bungoma Governor Ken Lusaka.