It was a sigh of relief for Bungoma senator and CORD coalition co-principal Moses Masika Wetang’ula after his political life that had been put on line was given a clean bill of health by a special committee appointed by the independent electoral and boundaries commission – IEBC to consider if the senator had committed election offenses that could lead to his name being deleted from the voters’ register for a period of five years.
The committee that was led by one of IEBC commissioners Thomas Letangule announced and ruled at the Milimani Law courts in Nairobi that the senator was found not guilty of any election offense worth deleting his name from the voters’ register bearing in mind that he had not been tried at any criminal court over the alleged offenses.
The January 19th ruling that was eagerly awaited by many Kenyans from all walks of life and across the political divide sparked celebrations from Wetang’ula’s supporters and the entire CORD fraternity whose strength and compatibility was at stake and the opposition could have been disgruntled if at all the vocal senator and fierce critic of the ruling Jubilee coalition could have had his name deleted.
Tension was rife and evident on the D-day of the ruling and many people in the opposition strongholds especially in Bungoma, Kakamega and Trans Nzoia feared that any contrary ruling to the one read by commissioner Letangule could have sparked chaos in those parts.
What next after survival
After the landmark and historic ruling, senator Wetangula who is also party leader of Ford Kenya together with his co-principals Raila Odinga of ODM and Kalonzo Musyoka of Wiper Democratic Movement and even other politicians who lean on the ruling Jubilee side must have now gone back to the drawing board to strategize afresh on what to do now that the political ground is now leveled and not favoring any side.
In CORD fraternity for instance there is evident tension and uncertainty surrounding the nomination of a presidential flag bearer for the coalition bearing in mind that the supporters of the three principals have stood to their guns to push their respective leaders from their regions to take nothing short of the vying for the presidency in next year’s August 8th polls.
In Eastern region of the country the Kamba community through the Kalonzo Musyoka’s WDM party have endorsed him for the seat of president and also in Western the Ford Kenya officials and supporters have endorsed Wetangula to go for the same seat as Raila Odinga’s ODM also believes their party leader should take a last attempt at the presidency that has eluded him three times of which in two cases he lost controversially to his opponents in 2007 and in 2013.’
Talk about Raila’s last bullet has been among the statements that have been used by his close allies and supporters to justify his last attempt at the highest seat of the land.
As much as the opposition leaders sat side by side with senator Wetang’ula at the Milimani courts as they listened to the ruling by commissioner Letang’ule in show of solidarity, a lot of issues must have been running in the minds of the coalition partners who seem to have failed to arrive at a formula of electing or nominating a flag bearer.
Headache of CORD flag bearer
In one way Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka might have silently been imagining that if in any case Wetang’ula’s name is deleted from the voters’ register thus rendering him inactive politically such that he cannot vote or be voted for, then it could have been easy for the two of them to pair up again and vie for the seat just as they did in 2013.
But now that Wetang’ula has not been deleted from the register, then it means that each coalition partner has to employ his tactics and tricks to outwit his colleagues and emerge favorable and prominently as the right person to fly the flag of the coalition in the next general polls that are still being viewed as a two-horse race between the ruling
Jubilee and CORD coalitions that may set a re-match of the 2013 scenario.
In the recent past it has been reported in a section of the press that Wetangula and Kalonzo Musyoka have not been comfortable with the way ODM leader Raila Odinga has been behaving as a senior principal in the coalition and therefore the preferred candidate to fly the flag of the opposition in next year’s elections.
Wetangula and Kalonzo have been described as Raila’s flower girls in this scenario as Raila who rarely comments on the matter is busy strategizing and putting modalities in place to strengthen his presidential campaigns as the two co-principals continue to lament silently.
The two (Wetangula and Kalonzo ) are yet to launch serious strategies of campaigning for the presidency as compared to Raila Odinga in that many Kenyans still view Raila as the serious contender who can give Jubilee coalition led by president Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy william Ruto a run for their money as compared to fronting Wetang’ula and or Kalonzo.
May be time will tell the fate of the unity and compatibility of the opposition coalition of CORD that has been described by Raila Odinga as a chain that cannot be broken.
Jubilee dealt a blow in Western
On the other side of the political divide, the Jubilee coalition that could have cashed in politically in Western Kenya if the deletion of Moses Wetang’ula from the voters’ register was realized should now be a worried lot after the anticipated deletion of the senator’s name never came true.
The leaders from the ruling coalition who had launched spirited campaigns in the region a few weeks or months to the historic ruling to convince the residents through launching of government projects and appointments to jobs should now think of a new strategy that shall lure the voters from Western Kenya to support or vote for the ruling coalition through its newly formed party The Jubilee Party.
The notion that had been spread by the CORD leaders and Wetang’ula supporters that his woes with IEBC were propagated by some of the leaders from the region who are working in the Jubilee government seems to have sunk in the minds of the people in the region who can’t hear nor see anything good from the ruling coalition after Wetang’ula’s political survival was realized through the Letang’ule led committee ruling on Tuesday 19th January.
The resistance of the Jubilee Party and manifesto was witnessed at a funeral of Mzee Timoteo Wamunyokoli in Chwele village of Kabuchai constituency when former minister and co-chair of the Jubilee Party masterminds Dr. Noah Wekesa was booed as he tried to tell mourners how he is working for the Jubilee coalition to ensure that it retains power in 2017.
The mourners shouted him down and joined by the church choir at the funeral who started singing and overshadowed Wekesa’s sentiments subjecting him to shout loudly to drive his point home insisting that he will not be cowed to leave Jubilee but will continue with the campaigns until president Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy Ruto remain in power after next year’s elections.
“I would like to confirm to you here that I am working with president Uhuru and the Jubilee party to ensure that he wins his second term in office after next year’s general elections and I will not be deterred by anything because I am determined and I tell you he will be back in state house in 2017,” said Wekesa.
Wekesa who left shortly after his speech was later criticized by Kabuchai MP James Lusweti Mukwe (pictured left) who termed Wekesa as an elder who does not have respect for other leaders by telling mourners in his presence that they should join and work with the Jubilee government.
“Which government is this old man telling us to join when we want to form our own government in 2017. He wants us to join the government for what purpose when we already have our own county government here in Bungoma that is supposed to deliver services and projects to our people? I think such statements reflect lack of respect by an elderly leader like Mzee Wekesa whom I wanted to tell on his face but lucky for him he has left,” said a bitter Lusweti to mourners.
Such dissenting voices against penetration of Jubilee party in the region have been emerging in different functions hence giving a challenge to the Jubilee point men in the region to rethink and strategize afresh as to how they will conquer the region that is dominated by the opposition before next year’s general elections.
In the recent past the Jubilee proponents and point men in the region have been among them Water and irrigation services cabinet secretary Eugene Wamalwa, former ministers Dr. Noah Wekesa, Musikari Kombo, former MPs Bifwoli Wakoli, Joash Wamang’oli, Raphael Wanjala and current MPs Janet Nangabo of Trans Nzoia, Reginalda Wanyonyi Bungoma county, Dan Wanyama of Webuye West, Wafula Lazaro of Saboti and governor Ken Lusaka of Bungoma all from NFK party that was dissolved to join JP.
Others include Sirirsia MP John Waluke of ODM, Emmanuel Wangwe of Navakholo and Ben Washiali of Mumias East elected on a UDF party ticket among others who have been under fire from their colleagues in what they termed being bought cheaply to auction the community.