By The County Splash Team
With less than three years remaining to the 2022 polls, political alignments and alliances have begun shaping up starting with the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
Politicians on the other hand are busy chest thumping are throwing salvos at each, all aimed creating a perception in the minds of the electorate that they are superior and that they should be given kingmaker treatment.
The song is the same in Western Kenya with the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary General Francis Atwoli declaring himself as a kingmaker in determining who will succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta when he retires in 2022.
Atwoli further has kicked up a storm in the Mulembe nation that he will be one declaring the candidates who will be vying for different seats right away from the constituency level as well who will be the Luhya spokesman who will double up as the region’s presidential hopeful.
His sentiments hadn’t been received well across the political divide.
Opinion poll results
The County Splash, an online news platform took upon itself to carried out a survey on who the Mulembe people want to be given the mantle to be the lead the region as the country approaches the 2022 polls.
The opinion poll was carried out between January 2nd – January 13, this year in Kakamega, Bungoma, Vihiga, Busia and Trans Nzoia counties, a region largely inhabited by the Luhyas and 3,687 people were reached through telephone interviews, online survey, one on one interviews as well as through filling questionnaire’s on their preferred candidate.
A total of 1,449 people voted in favour of Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi to be given the mantle to lead the region which represents 39.30 per cent of the total votes.
Ford Kenya party leader Moses Wetang’ula was second with 814 votes (22.08 per cent) and Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa a distant third with 403 votes (10.93 per cent). Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya garnered 311 votes at position four with 8.44 per cent of the total votes.
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Secretary General, Dr Mukhisa Kituyi got 91 votes (2.47 per cent) and was polled at position five and was closely followed by Ex- Lugari legislator Cyrus Jirongo at position with 62 votes (1.68 per cent).
Those who preferred Cotu’s Francis Atwoli to be anointed as the Luhya kingpin and lead the region as the presidential flag bearer were 59 representing 1.60 per cent of the total votes. Atwoli was position seven in the polls.
Busia Senator Amos Wako was position eight with 53 votes (1.44 per cent) and Former National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende polled at number nine with 32 votes (0.87 per cent) whereas 413 people who participated in the survey were undecided which represents 11.20 per cent of the total votes.
During the opinion poll, participants were asked as to why they prefer a particular candidate as well as his weaknesses.
Majority of those interviewed said they prefer Mudavadi given that he stature is that of a statesman and more so not controversial.
“Mudavadi having risen to the positions of Vice President and Deputy Prime Minister respectively, places him above the rest. He is the only senior most Luhya leader who has tried his stab at Presidency in 2013 and became position three after President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga with 483,981 votes,’.
According to the survey, Mudavadi’s calm nature makes him sellable to other regions like in Rift Valley where his mother comes from. His closeness with the Former President Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi and that of Kenyatta family also gives him bragging rights. The two families can rally their communities to vote for him.
“Mudavadi having risen to the positions of Vice President and Deputy Prime Minister respectively, places him above the rest. He is the only senior most Luhya leader who has tried his stab at Presidency in 2013 and became position three after President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga with 483,981 votes,”
Mudavadi’s undoing factor
They also termed Mudavadi as a gentleman for having formed the National Super Alliance (Nasa), brought the Luhya people together in 2017 but handed the mantle to Raila to lead the Nasa brigade in the presidential polls, in which the coalition became second to Jubilee coalition.
Mudavadi also has a party that has six elected legislators in Kakamega, five in Vihiga and one MP in Bungoma and Busia counties respectively with many MCAs.
However, because his humble nature many don’t consider him as a presidential material. They also said he is very unpredictable since after forming Nasa, he was welcomed Raila, Kalonzo Musyoka and Wetang’ula to the coalition and instead of being the flag bearer, he left it to Raila.
This move of reducing himself to a mere campaigner of Raila after forming Nasa not only disappointed his supporters but also irked the Mulembe nation for giving his ‘birth right’ to Raila.
They also said Mudavadi is stingy despite being endowed with resources, which has been enabling factor to Deputy President William Ruto to make inroads in Western region and win his elected MPs and MCAs to his side and more so gifting Jubilee several MPs.
For Wetang’ula, they said he is a go- getter and that he stops at nothing to get what he wants.
“Despite Governor Oparanya saying that he (Wetang’ula) cannot launch his presidential ambitions at Muliro Gardens in Kakamega in 2016 and even after being lobbied with tear gas canisters, the rally went on,”.
They termed Wetang’ula as an orator who moves crowds easily when given a microphone and more so as someone who has been in government holding senior positions for more than 25 years. He has a party, two governors, six MPs and majority of MCAs in Bungoma and Trans Nzoia counties.
But his greatest undoing is the fact that the Bungoma senator, short tempered and makes unilateral decisions without consultative his colleagues. They said he is also selfish, the reason they disagreed in dissolving Ford Kenya and ANC to form one formidable party ahead of the 2022 polls.
For Eugene Wamalwa, they viewed him as someone who has risen to power using the name of his late brother, Michael Kijana Wamalwa, the eighth Vice President of Kenya.
They said he is charismatic leader who can be accepted anywhere and is for this reason he has held plum government jobs like Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Water and now Devolution. He is close to President Uhuru Kenyatta.
He’s greatest undoing was when he (Wamalwa) together with Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka ‘sold’ the New Ford Kenya party and joined the Jubilee party, leaving their supporters like orphans. He is also perceived to be flexing muscles with Wetang’ula in pursuit to control the Bukusu politics in Bungoma and Trans Nzoia counties.
For Oparanya, he only has a following in Kakamega and partly Busia county. He is loved by the elites and considered a manager and not a politician.
” He’s greatest undoing was when he (Wamalwa) together with Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka ‘sold’ the New Ford Kenya party and joined the Jubilee party, leaving their supporters like orphans. He is also perceived to be flexing muscles with Wetang’ula in pursuit to control the Bukusu politics in Bungoma and Trans Nzoia counties,”
Being an architect of Vision 2030, Oparanya is ranked highly among the rest. His work as Kakamega Governor has also earned him accolades.
However, he has no support among the youths who perceive him as someone who doesn’t have their interests at heart given the way he has been distributing plum jobs in his administration. His association with Raila is also another undoing factor.
For Mukhisa Kituyi, they view him as someone who has gained experience while at UNCTAD and as a former legislator. They want him given the mantle to be a luhya kingpin for also being close to Uhuru whereas they view Jirongo as a humble leader who has political experience for serving both in the Moi and Kibaki era but his undoing is that he is currently not endowed with resources like in his hey days.
For Francis Atwoli, they said he has a lot of money and speak the people’s mind as well as his connections to statehouse. However, they say Atwoli can’t be trusted with leadership courtesy of his abrasive nature.
Amos Wako and Kenneth Marende were preferred to be luhya leaders since they are brilliant lawyers who make informed judgements.
N/B: An opinion poll rating the performance of Kakamega MPs and MCAs will be out in the first week of February 2020
Report compiled by Wilson Abiri, Andrew Ombuni, Mike Andabwa, Collins Matubwi, Augustine Ochieng, Robinson Odeke, Fred Wamalwa, Anne Nafula, John Wanjala and Mutsani Kweyu