The move by Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi to ditch the Orange Democratic Movement for the United Democratic Forum party was received with mixed reactions from western Kenya leaders.
In Nyanza, MPs Jakoyo Midiwo (Gem) and Oyugi Magwanga (Kasipul Kabondo) and several councillors on Wednesday termed the move by Mr Mudavadi as inconsequential.
Mr Jakoyo and Mr Magwanga urged Mr Odinga to replace him immediately.
“It is not enough that he resigned as a minister. We are sure that the PM will soon replace him as a Deputy Prime Minister because he is now working against the same appointing authority,” said the Gem MP.
They claimed Mr Mudavadi was playing to the whims of anti-ODM forces bent on blocking the party in most of his strongholds.
More than 30 councillors from Migori, Awendo, Nyatike and Rongo Districts said the departure of Mr Mudavadi was long over-due because he had kept the Orange party in suspense for long regarding his next move.
In Busia, Mayor Imelda Obwana said it was Mr Mudavadi’s democratic right to join UDF and challenged him to work with other parties and unite all Kenyans.
Councillor Gomba Sewe from Marachi West Ward said Mr Mudavadi’s exit was a big relief since Mr Odinga’s problems in ODM were as a result of the unwavering support he gave him.
But in Kakamega and Vihiga counties, supporters of Mr Mudavadi said although they supported his decision to quit ODM, the contest ahead would not be easy.
Prof Sammy Kubasu, chairman of the Universities Academic Staff Union said resigning as the ODM deputy party leader and Local Government minister, the Sabatia MP had shown he was serious about his presidential bid.
“His decision will cause ripples across the political landscape and we are likely to see new alliances coming up,” said Prof Kubasu.
However, he said Mr Mudavadi’s candidacy would trigger a contest with Justice minister Eugene Wamalwa who is seeking the presidency on a New Ford-Kenya ticket.
Reports by Benson Amadala, Elisha Otieno, Otieno Owida and Linet Wafula