The might of the Jubilee alliance coalition financial power play is wreaking havoc on the Busia County politics with devastating consequences that may have far reaching effects on the outcome of the next general elections.
The financial might has clearly taken a fearful powerful stranglehold on the unfolding politics of the county with the county’s political giants caught up in the deadly web that has been thrown around it.
Un-confirmed reports right from the national to the county level are indicating that some of the personalities from the county have already been advanced between Kshs. 200 to 400 million to wreak political havoc to wrest the county to Jubilee.
The county’s leading political giants like Senator Amos Wako, former cabinet minister Fred Gumo, county’s woman veteran politician Julia Ojiambo and her party Labour Party of Kenya (LPK), Budalangi’s Ababu Namwamba, Funyula’s Paul Otuoma, former Vice President Moody Awori, area Governor Sospeter Ojaamong, Nambale’s John Bunyasi United Democratic Front (UDF), his rival Chris Okemo are all caught up in the imbroglio.
The new entrants who have not escaped the web are the immediate former National Irrigation Board (NIB) Chief Executive, Eng. Daniel Barasa, the Chief Executive Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC), Lucas Meso, Teso North and South United Republican Party (URP) legislators Arthur Odera and Mary Emase respectively, Eng Vincent Sidai, Matayo’s legislator Geoffrey Odanga, Butula’s Francis Onyura and the county Women Rep Florence Mutua have not been left out.
The crux of the matter is that Jubilee operatives seriously consider the strategically placed Kenya – Uganda border county is politically an easy prey to pocket compared to the other three counties in the former western province led by Kakamega, Bungoma and Vihiga – in its larger strategy to either wholly bag the populous Luhyia vote or divide it at the next general elections to stay in power.
The other reason is the geographic strategic location of the county at the Kenya – Uganda border in relations to the Jubilee government interests as well as those of President Yoweri Museveni in Uganda.
In the emerging scenario senator Wako who had initially indicated that he was not going to defend his seat has since made an about turn to defend it and is leading the political juggernaut financed by the Jubilee government that is expected to sweep the county into its arms at the next general elections – particularly the gubernatorial seat.
Although elected at the last general elections on an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) ticket Wako’s declaration and leadership of the county’s top cream politicians to oust the County Governor Ojaamong’ also of ODM is a clear indication on how much shattered that party’s leadership has become in the county that was once considered and ODM zone.
It must also not be forgotten that he (Wako) led and virtually literally singlehandedly financed that party’s campaign at the last general elections that brought in Ojaamong’ and other legislator’s on its ticket like Onyura, Odanga, Namwamba, Mutua, Otuoma including most of the county’s Members of the County Assembly (MCAs).
Ironically the top cream that he is leading are former top leadership of the party this time round include Namwamba the immediate former ODM Secretary General, Otuoma immediate former vice-chairman, North Teso URP legislator Arthur Odera, Ojaamong’s South Teso legislator of URP, Mary Emase, former ODM leading politician Fred Gumo who was among a delegation of New Ford Kenya leaders that vested the President at state house among others.
The principal personalities who are equally financially powerful set to wrestle the seat from Ojaamong’ are led by Eng. Barasa who hails from Matayo’s sub-county just like Wako and from the same clan as the Governor’s mother and on which (the clan) he (Ojaamong) is heavily banking to marshal support in the division of the Busia County’s Luhyia’s votes ranged against him being from the Teso community.
The other personality is Mr. Lucas Meso who hails from Butula sub-county who appears fairly neutral in the roiling political imbroglio but a major front runner in the bid to grab the powerful gubernatorial seat of the county.
He is followed by Eng. Sidai who hails from the same sub-county as Ojaamong’ and contested for the same seat against him during the last general elections from which he emerged in the second position bitterly crying foul that the election had been rigged.
Though it clearly appears it is a battle between the ruling Jubilee coalition and its opposition Cord coalition particularly the ODM party in preparation for next year’s general elections, the political parties which are actively at play on the ground in the ODM onslaught include New Ford Kenya (read Gumo), Ford Kenya, URP and the Amani National Congress (ANC) with its leader Musalia Mudavadi accompanied by Nambale’s UDF Bunyasi who is also chair to the Western Kenya MPs Political caucus having made forays in all the seven sub-counties of Busia.
The LPK whose leader is the first woman legislator ever from the county, Prof. Ojiambo though has been taunted as where most of those personalities from the county quitting ODM are heading to, its presence and influence on the ground is extremely minimal and could have an inconsequential impact considering the high stakes involved.
The President Uhuru Kenyatta’s National Alliance (TNA) party equation would be hard to sell in the county therefore bringing into play the predominantly western Kenya political parties backed by the Jubilee coalition to lockout Cord from the county.
Therefore it follows that Eng. Barasa has clearly emerged as the favoured candidate to oust Ojaamong’ not only because of his financial might, but also powerful connections with ruling coalition Jubilee particularly the TNA part of it – that may finance one of the western region parties for his ticket just as Namwamba is heavily connected with the URP segment of that coalition that may also do just that.
The story does not stop there, since it is also a well-known fact that the engineer is the husband of the Thika town legislator Alice Ng’ang’a whose constituency is just next door to President Kenyatta’s county or village home with speculation rife that the MP could also be having blood ties with the President.
Eng. Sidai though from the same constituency as Ojaamong, this time round has many huddles in his way considering the fact that his construction company is a direct beneficiary of multi-million shillings development projects that he was awarded by the county government but most of which are yet to be completed.
This brings Meso into focus whose political party ticket is yet to be known but is also playing a critical role in this imbroglio with the other critical matter being the choice of the running mates by these candidates and the communities from which they come from – Teso or Luhyia.
Ojaamong’ who had one time literally dumped his deputy Kizito Wngalwa from Butula sub-county made a quick about turn at the beginning of this year to retain him as his choice running mate at the next general elections considering the fact that they are cousins by virtue of their mother’s coming from the same clan.
The governor who has survived multi-triple raids by Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) agents brags of having amassed so much finance that he is ready to finance the campaigns of the candidates who are thronged against him to grab the county’s gubernatorial seat at the next general elections.
All these forces are arraigned against him with sub-county politics thrown to the back burner because Ojaamong’ is accused of having totally failed the county in development terms in the sense that even the five metre stretch of road from the main Busia – Kisumu highway to his office has defeated him to tarmack.
Without a single stretch of tarmacked road in Busia town apart from the main international highway unlike his colleagues in Bungoma, Kakamega, and Vihiga – this state of affairs has turned the town that is the county headquarters into a dusty or muddy rotting entity compared to its Ugandan portion.
The worst scenario emerges by the fact that he has also heavily employed senior personnel to the most lucrative jobs and ministries people from his Teso community, rampant corruption in tendering and contract awards, massing looting of public funds especially during the Busia International Investors Conference (BIICO) that more than a year later has not generated a single investor, arrogance and over-confidence in conducting county business…the list is endless.
It is in this state of affairs that as the county’s political giants coalesce with a singular purpose that could easily see the demise of ODM, the ODM governor who is Raila Odinga’s political protégé is reportedly running to his Teso community and his mother’s Abaguri clan to salvage him from the deadly political onslaught.