Despite Senate Speaker post promise, Wetangula moves to defend Bungoma seat

Moses Wetangula

Ford Kenya party leader Moses Wetang'ula.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang'ula is seeking a third term as Bungoma senator, an electoral commission filing has confirmed.

Mr Wetang’ula is listed as among 10 Senate aspirants nominated by Ford Kenya to contest the Senate seat.

Others in the Ford Kenya Senate contest list are Kakamega’s Joy Mukite, Busia’s Moses Oguta Wanyama, Garissa’s Shalle Mohammed Issack, Mr Kennedy Okongo Mongare of Nyamira, Tana River’s Mohamed Jire Siyat, Trans Nzoia’s Henry Ndiema, Daniel Gitau Kimani of Nakuru, Rachel Cherotich Ngeno of Kericho, and Celestina Mutave Mbasi of Machakos.

Mr Wetang’ula and his Amani National Congress (ANC) counterpart Musalia Mudavadi have joined Deputy President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza Alliance.

Mr Wetang’ula has been promised the Senate Speaker post and Mr Mudavadi a proposed Chief Cabinet Secretary post that will have a supervisory control of the Cabinet.

For them to get it, however, Dr Ruto has to win and they have to have brought in 70 per cent vote target from the 2.2 million Western vote bloc in a deal with Dr Ruto.

As one of the drafters of Kenya Kwanza Alliance Coalition agreement and custodian at the same time, Tharaka Nithi senator Prof Kithure Kindiki said Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang’ula consented to the deal.

"For Ford Kenya and ANC, it was decided that should we meet certain threshold of votes where we have massive followings based on opinion polls and past elections, they can be assigned government responsibilities to certain percentage. It is correct that the duo has to deliver 70 percent of votes from Western. They would not have signed if they were uncomfortable with that requirement," said Prof Kindiki in an interview with Citizen TV recently.

Critics of the Kenya Kwanza deal, especially those in Raila Odinga’s Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Alliance, have laughed off the target, saying Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang’ula could not match the demand.

Western now has 2.2. million votes spread across its five counties, and the battle is on.

Mr Odinga received 82 per cent, or 1.186 million votes in 2017 compared to Mr Kenyatta’s 242,388.

While President Uhuru Kenyatta had garnered a paltry 66,000 votes from the four Western counties in 2013, in 2017, this figure went up eightfold.

Were Dr Ruto to get a slice, even just a third or 700,000 votes, Mr Odinga’s 44.7 per cent he had in 2017 plummets even further.

This also saw Jubilee getting 12 MP seats from a region widely controlled by Mr Odinga.

The area did not have any Jubilee MP in the 2013-2017 Parliament.

From the stellar performance in 2017, Dr Ruto has set his team in the region a target of 70 percent for a 30 percent pie of Kenya Kwanza government.