William Ruto and Musalia Mudavadi

Amani National Congress party leader Musalia Mudavadi (left) and Deputy President William Ruto during a joint rally at Posta Ground in Bungoma County on January 28, 2022.

| Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

Trouble for Ruto in Western as ANC, Ford-K lose MPs

What you need to know:

  • Since Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula joined hands with the DP, their parties have experienced a wave of defections.
  • ANC and Ford-Kenya risk being swallowed completely in case the DP fails to give in to their demands on zoning.

Deputy President William Ruto is facing fresh trouble in the 2.2 million-vote Western region, as his newfound allies, Amani National Congress (ANC) and Ford-Kenya suffer a relentless Azimio la Umoja-induced haemorrhage following the announcement of his union with the two parties.

This, even as allies of the DP in the region demanded an assurance that there will be no zoning of regions in favour of the Musalia Mudavadi  and Moses Wetang’ula-led parties.

On the sidelines, the Democratic Action Party-Kenya (DAP-K), associated with Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, and led by Ford-Kenya rebels Wafula Wamunyinyi (Kanduyi) and Tongaren’s Eseli Simiyu, has scored big as lawmakers from ANC and Ford-Kenya flock the new party. 

From the 14 MPs it had, ANC has now lost Mr Ayub Savula (Lugari), Mr Christopher Aseka (Khwisero), Mr Oku Kaunya (Teso North), Mr Tindi Mwale (Butere) and Mr Titus Khamala (Lurambi) to former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s Azimio. Vihiga Senator George Khaniri has made his next political move a secret, while Webuye East MP Alfred Sambu is retiring from politics.

A similar fate has also befallen Ford-Kenya’s Wetang’ula, who had 13 legislators drawn from different parts of Western region and two governors -- Bungoma’s Wycliffe Wangamati and Trans Nzoia’s Patrick Khaemba.

Now, the party has lost Mr Wamunyinyi, Dr Eseli, Mr Wangamati, Mr Richard Onyonka (Kitutu Chache), Mr Charles Gimose (Hamisi), Mr Olago Aluoch (Kisumu West) and Mr Vincent Kemosi (West Mugirango) to Azimio. 

The party is now left with only Chris Wamalwa (Kiminini), Majimbo Kalasinga (Kabuchai), Ferdinand Wanyonyi (Kwanza) and Catherine Wambilianga (Bungoma), while Likuyani MP Enock Kibunguchy has not yet declared his stand. 

“Fate of these ANC and Ford-Kenya is wanting because a number of their MPs have joined DAP-K. This party has also received former Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya, who has good prospects of capturing the Trans Nzoia seat, a number of grassroots officials of these parties are in DAP-K now. They also have received former speaker Kenneth Marende. DAP-K is now occupying the vacuum that has been left by ANC and Ford-Kenya,” explained Mr Martin Andati, a political commentator.

Political lifeline

He went ahead: “The problem is that Musalia and Wetang’ula never consulted the community. They made a unilateral decision. The backlash is benefiting DAP-K and it is the next big thing in Luhya politics. The appeal of ANC and Ford-Kenya have gone down.”

The two parties risk being swallowed completely in case the DP fails to give in to the demands of both ANC and Ford-Kenya on zoning.

“Unless the two leaders are given a political lifeline in the Kenya Kwanza alliance, in case Ruto does not agree to zoning, the two leaders will be weakening considerably, it means that their chance of winning some of those seats become minimal,” said Mr Andati.

Yesterday, Mr Savula, who is also DAP-K deputy party leader after ditching ANC, told the Nation that the party had embarked on grassroots mobilisation to ensure that the two parties do not win any seat in the August elections while accusing the ANC boss and his Ford Kenya counterpart of betrayal.

“ANC of Musalia, and Senator Wetang’ula’s Ford-Kenya are on their deathbed because they made a move that had not been approved by the community. Watch the pace of DAP-K, we are working on structures from the grassroots to make us stronger,” said the Lugari MP.

Political analyst cum governance expert Javas Bigambo is of the opinion that the ability of DAP-K to dislodge ANC and Ford Kenya will not rely only on the outcome of the August elections but its vision and leadership.

“The survival and longevity of DAP-K will depend on the party leadership, vision and endurance, not just on the election outcome of 2022. Nonetheless, if it sweeps the majority of representatives in Western Kenya, it will have succeeded at diminishing Ford-Kenya and ANC. But that assurance doesn't hold yet,” said Mr Bigambo.

“Ruto has to appreciate that coalition politics are now the norm, not the exception. He will have to make compromises. He cannot succeed by bulldozing his way with other party leaders. He needs to build coalitions,” he said.

New leadership

However, Dr Ruto’s allies from the region, led by Sirisia MP John Waluke, have ruled out zoning in the region, warning his Ford-Kenya colleagues to toe the line.

"Be assured that our party that will not be based on region and ethnic backgrounds will field candidates in all political positions and ignore rumors by our competitors that are gossip and street talks. By now, no one has talked about zoning so we don't want to work with rumours,” said Mr Waluke.

Webuye West MP Dan Wanyama said: “Let our aspirants stop crying and prepare for nominations as no one is going to be favoured.”

Mr Wamunyinyi, the DAP-K leader, said members of the party are poised to be the alternative voice for the region, while noting that ANC and Ford-Kenya are on the verge of collapse.

“We are championing a new order in the region and as we bring new leadership without Musalia and Wetang’ula. We must have unity so that our region can have development. What is killing our counties in the region is corruption perpetuated by few leaders who are in the rival team,” said Mr Wamunyinyi.

The Kanduyi MP added: “Musalia destroyed the economy of this country through the cemetery scandal, Anglo-Leasing and Goldenberg and he has now teamed up with another corrupt person, we cannot allow them to rule this country.”

Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang’ula, while on the campaign trail in Bungoma on Friday, said they were not worried by Mr Odinga’s scheme to destabilise them politically by ‘buying’ lawmakers allied to them, saying that electorates still believe in them.

“Is it possible that Western Kenya is the modern day Venice? Because our MPs are being bought in a manner that is not fathomable. What pleases me is that despite people being bought, the electorate are still with us because a party isn't for an individual,” said Mr Mudavadi.

Senator Wetang’ula added: “People sitting in hotels and offices to buy people like slave trade. You can buy an MP, but he will come alone. We are free to choose our friends who can be trusted on our own. No one can choose for us.”

Additional reporting by Brian Ojamaa