Another Jubilee MP from Western has defected from Deputy President William Ruto’s camp to back ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi, as political realignments intensify ahead of next year’s elections.
Malava MP Malulu Injendi said he would no longer associate with the Tanga Tanga faction of Jubilee, months after yet another of the DP’s vocal backers in the region, Kimilili MP Didimus Barasa, announced “a political sabbatical” from the camp’s activities.
Mr Injendi initially had been seen to be warming towards Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga but he thereafter hosted Dr Ruto at his home and announced he would support the DP’s 2022 presidential bid.
But the MP now says he is backing Mr Mudavadi’s presidential campaign.
He told the Nation yesterday that his defection was informed by the push to unite the region so as to have a high stake in political negotiations, a justification that was almost similar to what Mr Barasa gave early this year.
“I have not left the Jubilee Party which sponsored me to Parliament but I have decided that I will no longer associate with Tangatanga team-linked to Ruto and I am now with Musalia…Ruto will remain a friend but not a political ally,” disclosed Mr Injendi.
Western has more than two million votes spread across its four counties of Kakamega (743,736), Bungoma 559,850, Busia 351,048 and Vihiga 272,409. Trans Nzoia, located in the Rift Valley but with a high Luhya population, has 339,622 votes, with Mr Injendi saying it was time the numbers worked in their favour.
“A tribe like Luo are very powerful in this country despite having a small population compared to that of Western just because of their unity and for us we have numbers but we are nowhere because we are ever divided,” said Mr Injendi.
Mr Injendi claimed plans are in top gear to ensure other MPs who are in other camps rejoin either Mr Mudavadi’s camp or that of Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula.
Mr Barasa announced he was taking a break from Tangatanga activities, which has been interpreted as a scheme to defect silently.
“I also take this time to reflect on my political journey, bringing everybody onboard ahead of take-off. As people of Kimilili, Bungoma, and by extension the Mulembe nation, we have to rightfully claim our seat at the high table to make our numbers meaningful,” said the first-term Jubilee lawmaker.
However, Mumias East MP Benjamin dismissed the Luhya unity arguing those championing it are not genuine.
“Luhya unity will only work if Musalia will be a presidential candidate, it will also work if the community is benefiting but now, they are not coming out to revive Mumias sugar or Pan paper,” said Mr Washiali, who was ousted as National Assembly Majority Whip during a purge targeting the DP’s allies.
Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala had told the Nation that talks were ongoing to ensure that the region rallied behind Mr Mudavadi.
“Talks have been going on and I personally have been reaching out to the likes of Barasa and many others to come back home so that we can popularise the presidential quest of Mudavadi across the country,” said Mr Malala.
Keiyo South MP Daniel Rono acknowledged that some of his colleagues from Western are working to join Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang’ula.
“There are chances that some may shift because of personal interests but as it is, we still have strong generals who will remain with us, we cannot say who wants to decamp but it depends on future alliances,” Mr Rono said as he dismissed suggestions Tangatanga is jolted by recent defections.
But Mr Javas Bigambo, a political analyst, said the ongoing realignments are expected ahead of next year’s General Election.
"Such decamping is likely to be more among non-elected members before the 2022 General Election, purely for purposes of trying to look for good ground through which they can be elected, depending on where they want to run. Prominent parties tend to benefit from such party switching. But it also demonstrates loose party membership and factionalism, pork-barrel politics and lack steadfastness," explained Mr Bigambo.
Keen to strengthen support, the DP’s camp has been meeting a number of governors, Cabinet Secretaries and Principal Secretaries in the quest to form a formidable team ahead of the elections.
“There are many Nicodemus meeting Ruto at night, some are governors, CS, PS, everybody is preparing themselves for the next election,” said Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen.