• Results in favour of Kenya Kwanza will confirm Mudavadi and Wetang'ula as the de facto Luhya leaders
• Victory for Azimio will elevate Oparanya and Eugene as the alternative leadership for the Luhya community.
Tuesday's election will shutter or build the political careers of top Mulembe leaders.
The region has 2.6 million voters spread across the five counties of Kakamega, Vihiga, Busia, Bungoma and Trans Nzoia.
The outcome of the election will define the region’s political leadership between the two camps of Kenya Kwanza and Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya coalition.
The Kenya Kwanza team is spearheaded by ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi and his Ford Kenya counterpart Moses Wetang’ula, while the Azimio axis is led by Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Cotu boss Francis Atwoli and Defence CS Eugene Wamalwa.
Mudavadi, Wetang'ula and Oparanya had declared they would be running for the presidency but they all dropped their bids. Mudavadi and Wetang'ula joined Deputy President William Ruto while Oparanya supported ODM leader Raila Odinga's bid.
It is likely that the three may present their bids again in 2027 as they compete for control of the Luhya vote.
Results in favour of Kenya Kwanza will confirm Mudavadi and Wetang'ula as the de facto Luhya leaders, while victory for Azimio will elevate Oparanya and Eugene as the alternative leadership for the Luhya community.
A loss for Azimio will dampen Oparanya's ambitions for national leadership after completing his constitutional two terms as the first Kakamega governor.
Ruto wound up his campaigns in Western with a mega rally at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega town on July 30. Raila held his wrap-up rally for Western at the same venue last Wednesday.
Atwoli installed Mudavadi as the Luhya spokesman in December 2016 in Kakamega.
He later disowned him as a coward after he missed Raila’s mock swearing in as the "people’s president" after the 2017 general election.
He cobbled up another team comprising Oparanya, Eugene and Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati as an alternative centre of power in the region to wrest the community leadership from Mudavadi and Wetang’ula.
Tuesday's election presents a ground for the two camps to prove their political worth.
Western has been voting for Raila in the last three general elections. In 2007, Raila, Mudavadi and Ruto were in ODM while in 2013 Mudavadi broke off and ran for the top seat on the UDF ticket.
Raila teamed up with Wetang'ula under the Cord coalition. In 2017 Wetang’ula, Mudavadi and Raila were all in the defunct Nasa coalition.
Political commentator Martin Andati said a new order will start to emerge after the polls.
He said those who lose may fade away politically since the stakes are high.
“If Mudavadi and Wetang'ula fail to deliver Western, they may not be able to recover and rebuild their political careers. Victory for Azimio in the region will elevate Oparanya but just for being given a job as an individual but not as a regional leader,” Andati said.
He said Mudavadi and Wetang’ula must deliver Western convincingly to make meaningful impact in national politics in the next polls or fade completely from the political scene.
Mudavadi and Wetang'ula on one side and Oparanya and Eugene on the other are also to be defined by the number of governors, senators and MPs they deliver to their respective political formations.
Edited by A.N