Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi and National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula have hatched a fresh plot to maintain a grip on Western region politics against an onslaught from President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA).
Mr Mudavadi, who is associated with Amani National Congress (ANC), and Mr Wetang’ula, who leads the Ford Kenya party, have now ganged up against President Ruto’s UDA that is keen on painting the region yellow.
In a bid to bolster their influence in the region with close to 2.2 million votes, Mr Mudavadi has been reaching out to legislators from the area, including those from Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).
In the August 9 elections, out of the 30 constituencies spread across Trans Nzoia, Kakamega, Vihiga, Bungoma and Busia counties, Mr Odinga’s ODM had the highest number of MPs from the region at 15.
Dr Ruto’s UDA had six, Ford Kenya, ANC and DAP-K five each, Jubilee one and one independent MP.
The December 8 Bungoma senatorial by-election has given Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang’ula an opportunity to face off with Dr Ruto’s UDA under Kenya Kwanza Alliance, as they seek to stamp their authority in the region.
ANC and Ford Kenya have already ganged up against the President’s party, with ANC backing the Ford Kenya candidate Wafula Wakoli against UDA’s Mwambu Mabonga, the former Bumula MP.
Mr Odinga’s Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition is backing former Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi of Democratic Action Party-Kenya (DAP-K).
Yesterday, ANC Secretary-General Simon Gikuru told Nation that the party stands with Mr Wetang’ula’s Ford Kenya in the by-election.
“We have found it decent and good manners to leave it to Wetang’ula’s team (Ford Kenya) to defend their seat,” Mr Gikuru told Nation.
UDA warning shot
UDA National Chairman Johnson Muthama dared their opponents to meet them at the ballot, saying the people of Bungoma will make their decision.
Mr Muthama said UDA has already made inroads in the Western region, adding that they have a right to field candidates there because of their popularity.
“If we had no support, there is no way we would even allow our candidate to stand,” Mr Muthama said.
Even though party officials insist the battle for the control of the region is a “friendly match,” campaign utterances by various senior coalition members have depicted otherwise.
Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale told off Mr Wetang’ula against fronting a candidate in the by-election.
“We members of UDA are the ones who mobilised at least 145 UDA MPs to ensure Wetang’ula was elected Speaker because Ford Kenya only has just about five MPs. Five people cannot make you Speaker and that’s why we are telling you to leave the Senate seat for the people of Bungoma to decide,” Dr Khalwale said.
But Mr Wetang’ula has, however, kept his eyes on the prize, asking voters to ignore other candidates and vote for Mr Wakoli.
Speaking at a function in Kanduyi constituency last week, Mr Wetang’ula said:“This is a Ford Kenya seat that became vacant after I got elevated to become the National Assembly Speaker and we need to recapture it."