• The Kenya Kwanza coalition affiliate parties UDA and For Kenya have produced candidates for the seat and each side has readied itself for a battle like no other.
• Ford Kenya is led by Speaker of the National Assembly Moses Wetangula who quit the Bungoma seat to vie for the parliament's top leadership seat
The battleground is set for both Kenya Kwanza and Azimio political camps as the race for Bungoma senate seat gets down to the wire.
While ordinarily the race would have been billed as a do or die between Kenya Kwanza and Azimio, the by-election is emerging as a litmus test for President William Ruto-led coalition.
The Kenya Kwanza coalition affiliate parties UDA and For Kenya have produced candidates for the seat. Each side has readied itself for a battle like no other.
Ford Kenya is led by Speaker of the National Assembly Moses Wetangula who quit the Bungoma seat to vie for the parliament's top leadership seat.
The Wheelbarrow party has fronted ex-Bumula MP Mwambu Mabonga for the seat while Ford Kenya has handed the ticket to Wetangula's long time ally Wafula Wakoli.
However, both Ruto, who is the party leader of UDA, and Wetangula have so far kept off the campaigns but have seemingly deployed their lieutenants to the ground to wrestle for the seat.
In the UDA side, Kakamega Senator Boniface Khalwale and Webuye West MP Dan Wanyama have hit the ground running to drum up support for Mabonga.
Interestingly, Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa, who was elected on a UDA ticket, has jumped ship and is leading an aggressive push aimed at soliciting votes for Ford Kenya's Wakoli.
In an apparent swipe at Khalwale, Barasa took to Facebook on Friday to share an image of the Kakamega senator leading the UDA campaigns in Bungoma and compared it to that of the Ford Kenya campaign and captioned it:
"Dr Boni Khalwale Vs Didmus Barasa. Hii imeenda."
Loosely translates to: "The race is between Khalwale versus Barasa. He has lost it".
Both candidates have been cleared by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to run for the seat.
While campaigning in Bungoma, Khalwale who is the UDA majority whip bragged that it is the UDA party that won Wetangula the senate seat.
He rallied resident to support UDA to extend a hand of gratitude to the ruling party for handing Wetangula the Speaker's seat.
"Wetangula did not become speaker of the National Assembly because of the votes of Ford Kenya, he became speaker because of the 145 MPs of UDA, if the five members of Ford Kenya had voted for him, he would have gotten five votes," Khalwale said.
To the Ford Kenya camp, they have premised their campaign on the grounds that the seat was initially held by their party member and it should therefore be left to the party.
Even as the two take on each other head on, the Azimio camp is rallying behind DAP-K party leader Wafula Wamunyinyi to grab the seat from Kenya Kwanza.
Wamunyinyi was cleared Friday marking his official entry into the race. The candidate lost the Kanduyi seat to the incumbent Ford Kenya MP John Makali.
The Bungoma poll will be conducted on December 8.