Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang'ula has allayed fears that his recent truce with Devolution Cabinet Secretary, Mr Eugene Wamalwa, will scuttle ongoing talks on the merger of his party, Ford Kenya, and Musalia Mudavadi's Amani National Congress (ANC).
Instead, Mr Wetang'ula said, his handshake with Mr Wamalwa would help strengthen the merger aimed at realising the elusive Luhya unity.
This comes against the backdrop of simmering rivalry between his party and erstwhile ally, ODM, after Mr Wetang'ula said he had pulled out the National Super Alliance (Nasa) in which both belong as partners.
The pronouncement appears to have jolted some of his members who include Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa and Kitutu Chache's Richard Onyonka even as ODM asked Mr Wetang'ula to make good his threat.
Mr Wetang'ula, while speaking during an interview on Citizen TV, assured that the planned merger of the two parties was at an "advanced stage".
Their truce appears to be creating cracks in the proposed merger plan unveiled after Mr Wetang'ula fell out with ODM leader Raila Odinga.
The two leaders called a truce during a meeting at Mabanga in Bungoma County, with the highlight of the reconciliation being a handshake. They later appended their signatures to a new accord in which they agreed to walk the same political path.
The two politicians have previously engaged in a bitter at times bloody battle for political supremacy in western and sections of the North Rift. The rivalry started when Mr Wamalwa unsuccessfully challenged Mr Wetang’ula for the leadership of Ford Kenya ahead of the 2013 General Election.
The truce caused fears within Mr Mudavadi's camp that Mr Wetang'ula could be warming up to Deputy President William Ruto's camp after he made peace with Mr Wamalwa on July 20. But Mr Wetang'ula watered down the fears saying his meeting with Mr Wamalwa was aimed at strengthening the planned merger.
"My truce with Wamalwa is part of strengthening the merger process. Why would I think of joining another camp yet I have openly declared my interest in the presidency," said Mr Wetang'ula.
Mr Wetang'ula recently warned that Nasa is moribund and threatened to walk out of the opposition alliance.
Ford Kenya, ANC, ODM and Wiper are member parties in the alliance that has been faced by a storm since January 30 when three principals boycotted ODM leader Raila Odinga's mock swearing in as the "people's president" at Uhuru Park.
Mr Wetang'ula said the Ford Kenya and ANC merger was still being discussed by individual parties. He noted that other parties within Nasa were focused on strengthening their structures and grassroots support and said Ford Kenya and ANC were doing the same.
He however denied media reports saying his party had bolted out of Nasa but insisted that Mr Odinga betrayed his colleagues in the alliance when he secretly held talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta.
"The merger is still being discussed within the party structures of Ford Kenya and ANC," said Mr Wetang'ula.