Western voters keep their options open
Posted Sunday, December 23 2012 at 00:30
- Residents divided even with Mudavadi’s bid for the presidency
As major political alliances move to consolidate support in their perceived strongholds, Western province is living up to the dictum of not keeping all of one’s eggs in one basket.
All the national alliances have a strong presence there.
Hopes of getting the region to vote as a bloc have all but fizzled out with the four presidential aspirants from the area opting for different political camps.
They are Mr Musalia Mudavadi, Mr Cyrus Jirongo, Mr Eugene Wamalwa and Mr Moses Wetang’ula.
The latest such efforts fronted last month by Cotu secretary-general Francis Atwoli did not bear fruit.
Mr Mudavadi was in the Jubilee coalition that brought together his party UDF, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta’s TNA and Mr William Ruto’s URP before he was dropped from the arrangement after talks to have him picked as the torch bearer collapsed.
He had insisted that the alliance uses consensus to settle on either him or Mr Kenyatta while a group allied to Mr Kenyatta insisted on delegates taking a vote.
Mr Wetang’ula belongs to the Cord alliance that is made up of Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s ODM party, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka’s WDM together with Ford-Kenya party, his political vehicle.
Both Mr Wamalwa and Mr Jirongo found a home in Pambazuka alliance, what was then referred to as the likely third force in the ongoing realignments.
Mr Wamalwa has since joined ranks with other contenders, Mr Peter Kenneth and Mr Raphael Tuju, in an outfit christened The Eagle.
There are leaders from the region such as Planning minister Wycliffe Oparanya and his Local Government counterpart Paul Otuoma who have remained steadfast in ODM even as others switched loyalty and moved with Mr Mudavadi to UDF.
They thus remain a vital conduit Cord will be relying on to bag votes from Western Kenya.
Mr Oparanya comes from Butere, Kakamega County, while Mr Otuoma comes from Funyula, Busia County. In terms of popularity, Cord is seen favourably among possible voters in Busia compared to Kakamega that has the likes of firebrand Ikolomani legislator Boni Khalwale who are key UDF pillars.
Mr Oparanya accuses Mr Mudavadi, who is also the Sabatia MP, of having a personal vendetta against Mr Odinga.
“The PM is the right man to succeed President Kibaki, and Mr Mudavadi’s intention while crossing over to Jubilee was informed by a selfish motive, that of denying the Premier the presidency and it had nothing to do with the interests of this country,” he said.
The Butere MP, however, says they would welcome the DPM back to the Orange fold if he changed his mind after being sidelined by Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto.
He says polarising the country on tribal lines was the worst mistake their competitors were making as they campaigned across the country.