VOTE-RICH REGION

Political top guns jostle for control of Western ahead of 2022

ODM leader Raila Odinga, Deputy President William Ruto and Mudavadi are keen to control the over two million votes in the region

In Summary

• ODM lost the majority it had in 2013, only winning one senate and eight parliamentary seats out of 33.

• The two meetings will no doubt trigger political formations that will shape the 2022 race for the region. 

ODM leader Raila Odinga
ODM leader Raila Odinga
Image: FILE
ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi
ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi
Image: FILE
Deputy President William Ruto
Deputy President William Ruto
Image: FILE

The battle for the populous Western vote basket has begun in earnest, more than two years to the 2022 elections.

The latest in this battle for supremacy are two planned by meetings by rival leaders from the Western region. 

On the one hand, is the Bukhungu meeting organised by Cotu boss Francis Atwoli and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya this Saturday.

On the other is a Mumias rally to be graced by ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi and his Ford Kenya counterpart Moses Wetang'ula. 

In the long game, ODM leader Raila Odinga, Deputy President William Ruto and Mudavadi are all keen to control the over two million votes in the region come 2022.   

 

Mudavadi and Wetang'ula are fighting to consolidate the region behind a single candidate. But Raila, through Oparanya and Atwoli, is keen to reassert his influence after a dismal performance by his ODM party in the 2017 polls. 

ODM lost the majority it had in 2013, only winning one senate and eight parliamentary seats out of 33. It, however, won three of the four governorship seats in the region.

Though the Bukhungu meeting has been coated as a BBI popularisation rally, ODM MCAs said on Thursday a move to coronate Oparanya as the Luhya kingpin will be considered.

Assembly Deputy Speaker Soita Kasaya said that the Bukhungu meeting agenda will not be restricted to BBI.

For their meeting, Mudavadi and Wetang'ula have teamed up with Jubilee MPs from the region to address issues such as the revival of Mumias Sugar Company. 

It will be held on the same day as the Bukhungu gathering to counter what is seen as Raila's plot to lay the ground for his fifth attempt at the presidency.

Mudavadi and Wetang'ula believe Raila is the Luhya community's major problem and want to eclipse him from the region.

The Western region has overwhelmingly voted for Raila since 2007 but his influence in the region seems to be waning.  

 
 

The two meetings will no doubt trigger political formations that will shape the 2022 race for the region. 

Mudavadi and Wetang'ula on Saturday attended a funeral in Vihiga county where they affirmed to work together for the sake of development of the region.

Political scientist Amukowa Anangwe said the Bukhungu meeting should not be turned into a coronation platform because this will be an exercise in futility.

"In 2016 they anointed Mudavadi as Luhya spokesman and it had no impact. That they are organising another coronation exercise speaks volumes and if they did, the anointed person will simply be a Raila spokesman and not Luhya's," he told the Star on the phone.

Anangwe said the happenings were underpinned by the 2022 succession politics and have nothing to do with BBI.