18 MPs, 2 governors endorse Wamalwa’s Nairobi governorship bid
Eighteen Members of Parliament and two governors from Western region have endorsed Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa for Nairobi governor seat.
A meeting between Wamalwa, Budalangi MP Ababu Namwamba and Sirisia MP John Waluke has raised speculation on a previously elusive Luhya unity and formation of a “third force” as envisioned by Namwamba during his resignation as ODM Secretary General.
Bungoma Governor Ken Lusaka and his Vihiga counterpart Moses Akaranga are the two governors who have voiced their support for Wamalwa, with MPs Namwamba, Waluke, Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East), Ayub Savula (Lugari), Wafula Lazaro (Saboti), Trans Nzoia Women Representative Janet Nangabo and her Bungoma counterpart Reginalda Wanyonyi also on board.
The legislators on Wednesday had a meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s chief of staff Joseph Kinyua at the Office of the President to discuss among other things a planned three to four-day tour of the Head of State and his deputy to the region in the end of August.
The Luhya leaders are believed to have laid out a number of conditions that should be effected in exchange for their support for Jubilee ahead of the 2017 elections.
Among the conditions set include the fronting of Eugene as the Jubilee candidate for Nairobi governorship race and another Luhya leader picked to be the Speaker of National Assembly should Jubilee win the 2017 General Election.
The bigger picture however and the end-game for Jubilee is to win over the Luhya vote, or at least get a chunk of it to add to their supposedly solid support in Central and Rift Valley regions.
In the 2013 elections, Jubilee’s Uhuru Kenyatta managed a paltry 66,185 votes against CORD leader Raila Odinga’s 755,525 votes and the region’s ‘very own’ Musalia Mudavadi who garnered 353,864.
Though only 1.2 million out of the 1.4 million registered voters in Western cast their votes in the 2013 elections, it is imperative to note that the possibility of both CORD and Jubilee gaining ground in the region and dividing the votes have been a luring factor for both parties.
There has been mixed reactions from the Jubilee camp since Sunday after a section of MPs endorsed Wamalwa for the seat.
The pronouncement was countered just hours later with a section of MPs from Nairobi saying the endorsement was an annuity.
Voices of disgruntlement have however emerged from the Jubilee camp on the issue, with some leaders, who support other Nairobi governorship contestants expressing their disapproval.
Other than Jubilee’s 2017 plan, there is the case of a Luhya-Kalenjin unity ahead of the 2022 elections where Deputy President William Ruto is set to contest.
The DP’s hand has therefore been apparently seen in the current realignments in the “Luhya Nation” and an unprecedented defection of members from CORD.
The outplay, it is perceived, is Ruto’s plan to create a formidable alliance between him and Western region to ensure he gets the numbers to win the 2022 elections.
It is also worth noting that Ruto has been the force behind the dissolution of Jubilee affiliates in favour of one party (Jubilee Party) which leaders in the coalition, including Meru Governor Peter Munya have claimed is his 2022 vehicle.
Munya has since defected to Mwai Kibaki’s Party of National Unity, which he would ride on to defect his governorship seat and contest for the 2022 elections.
The seat, currently occupied by ODM’s Evans Kidero, has attracted interest from current Nairobi Senator Mike Mbuvi Sonko, Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru, former aide to ODM leader Raila Odinga, Miguna Miguna, Bishop Margaret Wanjiru and nominated MP Johnson Sakaja.
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