Written by David Indeje and Obed Simiyu
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Housing Minister Peter Soita Shitanda (L), sharing a word with Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa and Ikolomani Mp Dr. Bonny Khalwale at a past function while they were all still in New Ford Kenya. [PHOTO|File|West Fm]
Housing Minister Peter Soita Shitanda and Ikolomani Mp Dr. Bonny Khalwale have now officially ditched their New Ford Kenya Party (NFK) for Musalia Mudavadi’s United Democratic Forum Party (UDFP).
The two have been vigorously supporting the Deputy Prime Minister in his presidential bid since he left ODM.
This also comes a day after Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa, who is New Ford Kenya’s presidential candidate, re-launched the party in Nairobi.
There had arisen speculations over the future of Shitanda and Khalwale in NFK, after they apparently turned their backs against Wamalwa, who they welcomed into the party, in favour of Mudavadi.
Mr. Shitanda, who is also the Malava Mp together with Khalwale, according to Mr. Wamalwa, had accepted to let the party undergo changes to its logo before they could leave.
Speaking exclusively to West Fm on Monday evening, the Saboti legislator commended the two and the party’s NEC for allowing him to contest the presidency on the party’s ticket.
He also wished them well in their decision to campaign for Mudavadi saying they had their right to practice their democratic right of supporting whomever they wanted to.
At the same time, he commended them for deciding to join the UDF party and campaign for Mudavadi from within and not from New Ford Kenya.
On Sunday June 24, 2012, Eugene Wamalwa led other party officials, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Lugari Mp Cyrus Jirongo in re-launching the party in Nairobi where the party’s symbol of an empty cup was replaced with that of a Leopard.
Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa (2nd Right) mocks the crowd at the Bungoma Posta ground after he was handed a spear by Hon. Musikari Kombo when he was declared the New Ford Kenya presidential aspirant. Looking on is URP's William Ruto (R) and TNA's Uhuru Kenyatta (in stripped shirt). [PHOTO|FIle|West Fm]
On March 19, 2011, Mr. Wamalwa officially announced he would vie for the presidency on the New Ford Kenya’s ticket ending months of speculations on which party he would join after falling out with Sirisia Mp Moses Wetangula in Ford Kenya.
This was announced at the historic Posta grounds in Bungoma where Soita Shitanda offered the party to the Saboti Mp as the desired vehicle for his presidential ambitions.
Speculations had filled the air then that Eugene would decamp to Prof. Julia Ojiambo’s (pictured) Labour Party of Kenya (LPK) since he fell out with Sirisia Mp Moses Wetangula over party leadership in Ford Kenya.
“Tunaenda kukusindikiza hadi ikulu na mambo ya chama vile nilisema tiketi iko tayari na mama Julia ojiambo pole sana tutaitumia siku ingine,” (We are going to support you to State house and issue about party, like I said, the ticket is already available but sorry Ojiambo, we shall use another time) said Shitanda as he offered his party as the desired vehicle for Eugene’s march to State House.
The Housing Minister charged the crowds when he led them in noting down the years that other communities had been in power while the Luhya community was left to support them.
He caused an uproar when he told DPM Uhuru Kenyatta that he should shelve his presidential ambitions since his late father and the incumbent president Mwai Kibaki who are all members of the Kikuyu community, have led the country for almost 25 years, while he told Ruto to also give way for Eugene saying former president Moi was from his community and he had led for 24 years.
Consequently, Shitanda told Eugene to stand firm just like the late Michael Wamalwa Kijana had braved all the tides waged against him by non reformers within and outside the party.
The rally which was highly anticipated by many across the country was well attended by high profile politicians led by Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Musikari Kombo, Eldoret North Mp William Ruto and assistant minister Ferdinand Waititu as well as Kambi Kazungu and Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi.
The Justice Minister also said his party was open to work with other parties to clinch the presidency.
At the same time, he said the party’s plans to open offices across the country were still on and urged supporters to keep on popularizing the party in their respective regions.
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