What you need to know:
- Wetangu’la and Lusaka have seemingly sealed a political pact in a bid to oust the embattled Wangamati.
- Wangamati and Wetang’ula no longer see eye to eye following last year's failed bid to overthrow the latter as Ford Kenya party leader.
With barely thirteen months to go before the next general elections, political temperatures are rising in Bungoma County with much focus on the gubernatorial seat.
Potential candidates keen on unseating Governor Wycliffe Wangamati have already begun forming political alliances camps.
A section of county leaders, including Senator Moses Wetangu’la, Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa, Kabuchai MP Majimbo Kalasinga, Woman MP Catherine Wambilianga and some MCAs are fronting Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka as their preferred candidate for the seat.
Wetangu’la and Lusaka have seemingly sealed a political pact in a bid to oust the embattled Wangamati. The two leaders have in recent days jointly attended public functions in the county's nine constituencies.
On the other hand, Wangamati and Wetang’ula no longer see eye to eye having fallen out following last year's failed bid by a clique of MPs to overthrow Wetang’ula as Ford Kenya party leader.
Wangamati, Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi and his Tongaren counterpart Eseli Simiyu are believed to have been the masterminds of the failed coup attempt.
With Wetangu’la and Lusaka’s newfound friendship, there have been talks of Lusaka joining Ford Kenya party to contest the gubernatorial seat on the party’s ticket.
Resign from Senate job
Isaack Wanjekeche, a political analyst told the Daily Nation that Lusaka's loss to Wangamati in 2017 was largely due to party choice.
“Bungoma electorates overwhelmingly voted for Nasa coalition where Ford Kenya was an affiliate member. That’s how Lusaka lost to Wangamati," Wanjekeche said.
Last week, during a function in his constituency, Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa asked Lusaka to resign from his Senate job by February next year to jumpstart his gubernatorial campaign.
"If by February 15, 2022 Lusaka will not have resigned as Senate Speaker, I will mobilize youths to come and forcefully eject him from his office so that he can come and salvage the electorates of Bungoma County,” Barasa said.
The MP also blamed Governor Wangamati for the funds crisis that is rocking the county government.
“When Wangamati recently appeared before the Senate’s Public Accounts Committee, it was evident from the Controller of Budget and Auditor General’s reports that money meant for county workers’ salaries for the months of May and June was released but instead the funds were wrongfully diverted to pay supplies and imprests,” the MP said.
“Members of the County Assembly who were being accused by Wangamati of having not passed the Supplementary Budget have now been vindicated," he added.
Wangamati's track record
Mr Barasa further said that Wangamati had not prudently utilized county funds since taking office and that most of the projects in the county have been done through funds from the World Bank and other donors.
Kabuchai MP Majimbo Kalasinga has similarly vowed to ensure that Mr Wangamati isn’t reelected next year.
However, a section of Wangamati's supporters have lauded the governor for changing the face of Bungoma, saying his impeccable track record will speak for itself during next year’s polls.
Lusaka, who seems to be waiting for the right time to announce his moves, is yet to openly state whether or not he will run for the county’s top seat.
The Speaker is however on record saying that he will heed the calls of his supporters, should they ask him to run for governor.
“I will do as my supporters say. If they want me to come back as the governor we will do exactly that,” Lusaka said.
Lusaka has repeatedly said that his administration greatly transformed the county.