By Paul Mukana
A fresh steam is brewing inside the Kenya Kwanza political formation in Kakamega county after it emerged that some parties are planning to get rid of specific candidates in an attempt to help Kenya Kwanza mint more elective seats.
Mumias West ANC parliamentary candidate Jackline Okanya and women representative candidates Consolata Lusweti (ANC) and Hadija Nganyi(UDA) are among the candidates threatening to quit Kenya Kwanza if their respective parties revoke their nominations.
In what appears to be a new twist in the zoning stalemate, both ANC, UDA and Ford Kenya are determined to field only one candidate attached to the Kenya Kwanza Alliance per every seat.
It implies that quite a number of trojan horses inside the Luhya kitchen cabinet of DP Ruto will be cut off from contesting.
It is a carrot and stick strategy that has not pleased some of the affected candidates.
For instance, in Mumias West constituency, attempts are underway to convince ANC candidate Jackline Okanya to step down for UDA’s Rashid Echesa.
Mrs. Okanya has poked holes into the decision by her party leader Musalia Mudavadi to openly tell her to quit the race despite having invested heavily in her campaigns.
“I have so many women and youths behind me. How will I convince them if I am forced to pull out of the race by my principals? I am very disappointed by the decision made by my party leader,” Mrs. Okanya told journalists in Mumias on Saturday.
It is a bizzare that has sparkled jitters amongst Kenya Kwanza supporters and Mrs. Okanya has tightened the grip on her parliamentary ambition.
On Sarturday during a Kenya Kwanza jamboree in Mumias, ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi appeared to ask Mrs. Okanya to drop her bid for the resurgent Echesa.
“We are in war against Azimio and the wrangles within Azimio could cost us. I will create time to talk to my sister Jackline Okanya as a community so that we cooperate and get one candidate so as to clinch victory,”Mudavadi noted.
Another hotly contested seat is the Kakamega women representative seat in which ANC is fielding Consolata Lusweti against UDA’s Hadija Juma Nganyi.
The race has triggered calls for consensus by the Kenya Kwanza lieutenants but both Mrs. Lusweti and Mrs. Nganyi have vowed not to bow out of the contest.
Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetangula is among the moguls who are pushing for an agreement between the two women.
“For us to be in a better position to win the women representative seat, we need to have one candidate between Hadija Nganyi of UDA and Dr. Consolata Lusweti of ANC. If we present the two of them to voters ,we will lose the elections,”Wetangula said at a Kenya Kwanza rally in Mumias on Saturday.
The efforts to convince the Kenya Kwanza candidates to step down for the most popular ones started quite a while back but they have always been ending fruitless because all of them were cleared by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to vie in the incoming August 9th polls and none is willing to call it quits.
Kakamega county has largely been voting for ODM in the past elections and political pundits have opined that Kenya Kwanza risks losing seats in the county should it field multiple candidates for same seats.
In Mumias East constituency, UDA is fronting Benjamin Mapwoni against ANC’s David Wamatsi, in Matungu Alex Lanya(ANC) is battling with Paul Posho (UDA), in Butere, Habil Nanjendo (ANC) is facing off with Michael Keya(UDA) and in Navakholo Stanley Waiswa (UDA) will be vying against ANC’s Samuel Wekulo.
At the same time, Ford Kenya is also fielding several candidates across the county as the political tides garner momentum.
This is a puzzle that has given DP Ruto sleepless nights since any sort of voter apathy that will result from forcing some candidates to step down will weaken Kenya Kwanza’s vote basket and jeopardize the 70% vote target from Luhya land.
Apparently, Kenya Kwanza Alliance has been having a rough time in trying to convince some candidates to relinguish their political ambitions.
It has recalibrated tough strategies by DP Ruto’s oligarchs including using threats to campaign against those who refuse to drop their bids and promising slots in the presidential campaign teams for those who give in to the alliance’s techniques.
Horizon news has reliably confirmed that Kenya Kwanza is targeting close to 546 candidates across the country to drop out of the August 9th elections mostly in areas where they have multiple candidates.
A good percentage of the affected candidates have threatened to call it quits with the DP Ruto political formation if their names are removed from the nomination lists.
Some big names in the Kenya Kwanza campaign trail are set for massive exits in the next few weeks if the current trends in the zoning quackmire is anything to go by.
Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa who is DP Ruto’s right man in the western region told journalists on Sarturday evening that Kenya Kwanza has commissioned opinion polls across the country to determine its strongest candidates before forcing the weak ones to step aside.
“We are doing a scientific survey next week. We have since done 3 ,our policy is to do four to establish an accurate pattern before we call parties on the table,” Barasa explained.
The Kenya Kwanza Alliance under the patronage of its presidential candidate DP Ruto is parading itself to grab majority seats in the national assembly, county assemblies, senate and the council of governors so as to be in an appropriate position to control the country’s affairs.
As a result, efforts are already underway to get rid of some candidates who are perceived to be of less influence on their respective voters thus quite a number of them are likely to be dissatisfied and walk away from Kenya Kwanza.