A Bruising Battle for Votes in Western Kenya Between Raila & Ruto Looming  

Former PM Raila Odinga

The recent emergence of Défense CS Eugene Wamalwa’s Democratic Alliance Party of Kenya (DAP-K) which is allied to Raila’s Azimio outfit is a development that cannot be ignored or wished away by DP Ruto’s camp

By The Weekly Vision Online

The battle for the Western Kenya Presidential vote will inevitably be between Raila Odinga of ODM and the Azimio Alliance and Deputy President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza.

The fact that DP Ruto has since formed a coalition with Amani National Congress (ANC) party leader Musalia Mudavadi and Ford-Kenya’s Moses Wetangula should not make the DP sit pretty, thinking that all is well.

The two political parties, ANC and Ford-Kenya have dominated the region’s political landscape for a while now, but this time around things are likely to turn topsy-turvy on them. The recent emergence of Défense CS Eugene Wamalwa’s Democratic Alliance Party of Kenya (DAP-K) which is allied to Raila’s Azimio outfit is a development that cannot be ignored or wished away. Despite being young, the party is already having a huge impact on the political matrix in the former western province.

The battle for the Presidential vote in western Kenya will inevitably be between Raila Odinga of ODM and the Azimio Alliance and Deputy President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza

During the last presidential elections, the battle for the region’s voters was between Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta, Raila Odinga swept the board winning by an overwhelming majority only to be “rigged” out by the ‘system’, and since none of the two individuals is being considered for the deputy president post in Kenya Kwanza, the alliance’s influence among the voters in the region will diminish significantly as we approach the election date. Some of the voters say Musalia Mudavadi’s move to Ruto’s camp was akin to committing political suicide.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) records show in Western Kenya, the number of registered voters as of the end of last year was only second to Mt. Kenya. The region boasts of four counties, the largest and most populous being Kakamega, followed by Bungoma where Hon. Wetangula hails from, Vihiga where Mudavadi is from, Busia and Trans Nzoia where Eugene Wamalwa hails from. Though geographically in the Rift Valley, Trans Nzoia is dominated by the Luhyia community.

Interestingly, Raila Odinga has secured the un-bridled support of outgoing Kakamega County Governor Wickliffe Ambetsa Oparanya, outgoing Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong, Vihiga Governor Wilberforce Ottichilo and Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati, Trans Nzoia outgoing Governor Patrick Khaemba is the only governor from the region supporting UDA.

Raila Odinga also enjoys the support from the Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary General Francis Atwoli who hails from Kakamega County. With his massive financial resources and influence in the region, Atwoli is expected to have a significant influence on the region’s voting pattern come August 9th, 2022.

Moses Wetangula’s influence on the voting pattern of Bungoma and Trans Nzoia County’s Bukusu community will for the first time be put to the harshest test after facing a rebellion within his Ford-K party and the emergence of the DAP-K in his home tuff. ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi may be facing a repeat of the same backlash from his Vihiga County as he faced in the 2002 general elections when he was coerced by the late President Daniel Arap Moi to play second fiddle to Uhuru Kenyatta. He is already facing rebellion as some of his vocal political lieutenants led by Lugari legislator Ayub Savula among others quit his ANC party to seek their political fortunes elsewhere. Matungu East legislator Peter Oscar Nabulindo also quit the Musalia party, must be remembered that Mr Nabulindo narrowly won the seat in a by-election against his ODM opponent the UDA’s candidate came a distant third.

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