Kenya News

Raila Odinga moves to win Western without Mudavadi & Wetang’ula

ODM leader Raila Odinga has moved to consolidate the vote-rich Western region without the support of One Kenya Alliance principals Musalia Mudavadi (ANC) and Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya).

Mudavadi and Wetang’ula consider the region their political turf but have flatly rejected Raila’s overtures.

It will now be battle royale for the region after Democratic Action Party of Kenya that launched yesterday announced its support for Raila-led Azimio La Umoja Movement.

The party, associated with Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, is seen to be targeting Bungoma and Trans Nzoia as its bastions.

The new party threw its weight behind Raila’s presidential bid during its National Delegates Congress meeting in Nairobi.

It also named Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi as party leader and his Tongaren counterpart Eseli Simiyu as secretary general.

Wamunyinyi and Eseli fell out with Wetang’ula in Ford Kenya. They have been involved in a protracted battle with Wetang’ula over control of Ford Kenya, whose stronghold is Bungoma county.

Eugene, Cotu secretary general Francis Atwoli and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya are among the new political leaders from the region that Raila is working with.

In his address, Wamalwa said DAP-K will work with like-minded parties to transform the country after 2022 elections.

“The journey we have embarked on now is one of national unity. We want to fight divisive and tribal politics,” he said.

He urged Mudavadi and Wetang’ula to join Azimio la Umoja to be part of the next government.

“It is their democratic right to be in Oka but I want to tell Musalia and Wetang’ula that if they continue to remain out there, they will remain out of government,” he said.

Eugene said Raila should be supported because devolution will be safe under his administration.

“I want to ask Musalia and Wetang’ula, in whose hands is devolution safe?” he posed.

Raila will also square it out in Western with Deputy President William Ruto, who has been making inroads in the region.

Wamalwa further said the 2022 presidential race will be a two-horse race pitting Raila and Ruto.

“The next government will be of either Raila or Ruto. So Musalia and Wetang’ula need to make up their minds,” he added.

Wamunyinyi said he had carried to the new party former Ford Kenya National Executive Council members, county officials and legislators from Parliament and county assemblies.

He said Reginalda Wanonyi (Bungoma Woman Rep) and Olago Aluoch (Kisumu West) and a host of MCAs are with him.

Present were Cabinet secretaries Eugene and Peter Munya (Agriculture), Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong, Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi and former Cabinet minister Noah Wekesa.

Wamunyinyi and Eseli last week said they had decided to quit Ford-K following the wrangles that have rocked the party for some 15 months now.

With Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati, they had said Wetang’ula’s leadership of the party was not up to task.

The Office of the Registrar of Political Parties has since published a gazette notice intending to gazette Wetang’ula as the bonafide party leader.

The Registrar of Political Parties gazetted the new Ford Kenya National Executive council following the National delegates conference meeting on November 4 at the Bomas of Kenya.

Wetang’ula remains the Ford Kenya party leader, while Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa is the secretary general, replacing Eseli.

Kitutu Chache MP Richard Onyonka, who ditched Ford-K as the deputy party leader and joined ODM, was replaced by Millicent Abudho.

Wamunyinyi said Ford Kenya had become “the face of impunity and suffocation of democracy.”

“Our stay there was no longer tenable. We have, however, carried the dream of Ford Kenya to DAP-K,” he added.

He said DAP-K settled on Raila because the party was keen on making the right choices ahead of 2022.

“The party will field candidates in all elective positions except for the top seat,” he announced in his inaugural address as party leader.

Munya thanked the delegates for agreeing to join Azimio La Umoja Movement.

“Azimio La Umoja Movement is a product of the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila. Let us take it forward and form the next government led by Raila,” he said.

Munya said supporters and members of DAP-K will have a share of the next government because the party supports Raila and the ODM leader will take over from President Kenyatta.

Wekesa announced he had left the ruling Jubilee for DAP-K.

“We are not in this party for 2022 elections only but beyond the forthcoming general election. We are also looking forward to joining Azimio La Umoja. We will sit at the table where the team forming the next government will be seated, “Wekesa, who was behind the formation of Jubilee Party, said.

Ojaamong, a close ally of Raila, said he attended the event to give the party’s new leadership moral support.

“We are all in Azimio. If we all consolidate our respective bases, then Raila will be the next president,” he added.

Wamalwa further told Wamunyinyi and Eseli to feel comfortable joining DAP-K.

“Feel comfortable, the delegates have opened the doors for you to work with like-minded parties,” he said.

-The-Star

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