Written by David Indeje, Obed Simiyu and John Kabaka
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DPM Musalia Mudavadi addressing residents of Bungoma County at Kanduyi Stadium in marking the 49 the Madaraka Day Celebrations Photo | Protus Simiyu
Deputy Prime minister Musalia Mudavadi will for the first time be holding his major political rally in Western Kenya after he settled for the United Democratic Forum Party (UDFP), as his political vehicle to ascend to presidency in the forthcoming general elections this weekend.
Though having been in the region the past weeks to attend various events both in his Sabatia constituency and in Bungoma North, his coming back will be a culmination of what he told the Western populace during his “consultative meeting” held in Kakamega that he was going to give a direction to them.
Subsequently, over the weekend he refuted claims of planning to organize the party’s political rallies in the region parallel to the Orange Democratic Movement which were held in Busia and Kakamega Counties.
Mudavadi while in Sabatia the previous weekend, at Vokoli Girls’ High School, had said the UDF party aimed at uniting Kenyans against politics of polarization, hatred and enmity to achieve peace and stability.
Friday Musalia attended the Madaraka Day celebrations in Bungoma County at Masinde Muliro (Kanduyi) where he said he will engage in talks with the Justice Minister who is also the Saboti mp Eugene Wamalwa over the presidential ambition.
In Kakamega, Ikolomani MP Boni Khalwale sought to assure residents that all would be well during and after the rally to be addressed by Mudavadi as laborer’s working of the main pavilion laid in the final fixes.
In a show of might, albeit to clear doubts that UDF was a small party, officials reportedly hired the equipment from communication service provider Safaricom, complete with tents and speakers and began erecting it in the morning.
This equipment only seen at the venue last in 2007 when president Mwai Kibaki held a mammoth rally at the venue during a rally organised by PNU youths supporters. Late Friday afternoon, work was still going on with sources intimating that security has been hired to keep vigil at the venue though the night.
Ikolomani Mp Dr. Bonni Khalwale is carried shoulder high as he went round Kakamega town in preparation of the UDF rally to be held on Saturday. Photo | John Kabaka
The DPM's supporters also carried out a youth caravan show bizz across the town and its environs announcing the rally before being joined by Khalwale later at 3.30pm.
The caravan ended at Muliro garden where Khalwale, expressed satisfaction with the preparation work, addressed the crowd and asked the youths to keep peace during and after the rally.
He said the political contest between Raila and Mudavadi was not a battle between the Luo and the Luhya communities.
“You know very well that this is not war between the communities, it is a battle between a young man and an old man and as you know the old cannot win.” he said adding the winner of the contest will have to lead the nation.
Khalwale also asked residents of Kakamega to attend the rally in their numbers saying they should not fear as the meeting will be peaceful.
Despite having received a boost from a section of political leaders from the region who have ditched their political parties in UDFP favour, Mudavadi will be testing the painful journey of wooing the Luhya voters who are yet to unite on one presidential candidate.
He is yet to get the much needed support from a section of the Luhya leaders who had earlier said they will marshal their support for him if he declared to run for the presidency, notably, the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister who is also the Saboti mp Eugene Wamalwa, who has since said he will still vie for the presidency, nominated mp Musikari Kombo, former Budalang’i mp Raphael Wanjala and the Lugari mp Cyrus Jirongo.
Currently, it is only the Malava Mp Soita Shitanda, Shinyalu Mp Justus Kizito Mugali, Vihiga Mp Yusuf Chanzu, Lurambi Mp Manyala Keya, Mumias Mp Benjamin Washiali and the Ikolomani Mp Dr. Bonny Khalwale who have publicly declared their support for Mudavadi.
This justifies that, Mudavadi still has an uphill task in consolidating the Luhya support which is still having Moses Wetangula the Trade Minister who is also the Sirisia Mp vying for the presidency under the Ford Kenya ticket, Eugene Wamalwa who is yet to be endorsed as the New Ford Kenya party flag bearer, Cyrus Jirongo who is under the United Republican Party-URP all who want to be president.
The podium at Muliro Garden to be used by the UDF party
Mudavadi also enjoys considerable backing from civic leaders across the Western Counties who have since ditched their mother parties in favour of UDFP as well as various political aspirants who have also joined is party.
Last week, the Orange Democratic Movement party – ODM extended an olive branch to Mudavadi to return to the party. The ODM party leader Raila Odinga while addressing western Kenya residents at the Masinde Muliro Gardens in Kakamega, he said Mudavadi was just nursing injuries and would be back to the team.
“I was in a friendly match with Mr. Mudavadi, but he decided to quit the party, he should reconsider his decision and return to the fold along with the others who have left ODM,” he said.
“Mr. Musalia has not left ODM for good. I want him to know that the doors are still wide open for him should he change his mind,” Raila had added.
However, even before ditching the party, Mudavadi had decried the slow procedure to amend the section to allow him compete with Raila Odinga for the party leader position, saying that some forces within the party were using that provision to derail his ambition and had time and again called for its amendment.
Thus, while in his last consultative meeting in Kakamega, Mudavadi had said “there was no turning back” a similar sentiment he had said when he announced his political vehicle reiterating party democracy.
“We needed to advance from the politics of polarization and intrigue…course of democratic principles and practices in Kenya. I have to say, internal democracy in political parties is as important as the practice of democratic governance in Kenya,” said Mudavadi.
Subsequently, in a surprise move, the Orange party aligned its constitution to his earlier demands long after he had gone.
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