This comes closely in the wake of a declaration by elected leaders from the region led by the chairman western Kenya Parliamentarians Caucus John Bunyasi and Ford Kenya’s Leader and CORD co-principal Moses Wetangula that region’s powerful voting bloc has the capacity to determine the political destiny of the country every electioneering year.
The emerging developments are seeing the Jubilee pack led by particularly Deputy President William Ruto literally flooding every corner of the region followed by his boss President Uhuru Kenyatta where they splash millions of shillings in the name of harambees and other donations.
Therefore they are sending a clear signal that they are desperately fighting to wrest Bungoma, Busia and Trans Nzoia Counties in Western Kenya from the opposition where they are making abnormally persistent forays to grab votes – especially with the onset of the ongoing mass voter registration exercise.
With the deputy President’s forays since late last year to date it has clearly emerged they are now well beyond 50 times mark.
That is including that of last weekend in Mumias and Bungoma County to wheedle residents of the region to register as voters in large numbers for the August 2017 general elections.
Indeed the duo has already harvested the Bungoma County Governor Kenneth Lusaka and many politicians from the County as well as Trans Nzoia to defect to Jubilee.
It was complete with the dissolution of New Ford Kenya to merge with the Jubilee Party, formerly a coalition that propelled Uhuru and Ruto to power.
Interestingly the ruling party has largely avoided making aggressive in-roads in the larger Kakamega County – the largest in the former western province and its neighbouring Vihiga County which are considered NASA strangleholds. Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi hails from Vihiga which was hived out of Kakamega.
The Jubilee Kingpins have also been able to capture the Mumias East Member of Parliament Benjamin Washiali and his Matungu colleague David Were whose political careers may be consigned to oblivion at the next general elections.
That is mainly because the Uhuruto administration is widely perceived by the population residing in the region as having totally failed to effectively deal with critical issues affecting their economic backbone the sugar industry – particularly sugarcane farmers.
President Kenyatta and his Deputy seem to have specifically laid special emphasis on the three counties largely leaving out Kakamega and Vihiga for unclear reasons as they continue to intensify their onslaught to try and deny NASA – specifically Mudavadi and Raila Odinga supremacy in the region.
Indeed they appear to have kept clear of Mudavadi’s Vihiga County where his ANC seems to have blanket acceptance or domination like TNA was in Uhuru’s central Kenya and URP in Ruto’s North Rift.
However with the emergence of NASA coalition the biggest threat to the political futures of Uhuruto seems to be Mudavadi.
Mainly because he is likely to be more acceptable in all regions of the country compared to Odinga including having the ability to marshal the power and might of the second largest community in the country to vote as a bloc – we are talking about the Luhyia, the Teso and the Sabaots of the former Western province.
The Jubilee scheme appears to be still working on the old supposition that these communities are a divided lot whose voting patterns are highly fractious and therefore an easy hunting ground to pick winning votes to propel them to state house for the second term.
That is why the Busia, Bungoma and Trans Nzoia counties have become Jubilee operatives’ major centres of focus with the tempo and political temperatures expected to progressively intensify as the country hurtles to the 2017 general elections.
Prominent personalities from the latter two counties who are supposed to be Jubilee’s point men to lure voters are led by Cabinet Secretary for Water and Irrigation Eugene Wamalwa, former cabinet ministers Musikari Kombo and Noah Wekesa.
The recent appointments of the former Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) Archbishop Eliud Wabula to chair the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC), the new Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chair Wafula Chebukati and its Chief Executive Ezra Chiloba from the two counties are perceived as enticements for voters to favour Jubilee.
Looking at Jubilee’s burning interests in the Busia County being a strategically placed at the crucial Kenya – Uganda border Jubilee’s first foray was through the former ODM Secretary General and Budalangi legislator Ababu Namwamba.
Namwamba was once accused of being a Jubilee mole in ODM, but eventually decamped under highly acrimonious circumstances rife with allegations of huge payments to purchase a political party.
Ababu’s eventual landing as leader of the Labour Party of Kenya (LPK) ahead of its owner, Prof. Julia Ojiambo also from Busia has since then intensified the perception that the party is just an external extension of Jubilee and not welcome to the nascent NASA coalition – at least at the moment.
Indeed already Jubilee has preferred candidates to run for various elective political positions in the county in August 2017 elections. Particularly for the gubernatorial, senatorial, the County Women Representative and Members of Parliament seats for the various constituencies in the county.
The first and foremost widely known both in Nairobi and on the ground is the immediate former National Irrigation Board (NIB) Chief Executive Eng. Dan Barasa, his former counterpart at the helm of the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) Lucas Meso and now former Nambale MP Chrisanthus Okemo who is also entering the fray on an LPK ticket – to fight for the Busia County Governorship.
The others are Eng. Vincent Sidai who contested and lost to Ojaamon’g at the last elections, the immediate Kisumu County Secretary Humphrey Nakitari and Funyula constituency legislator Paul Otuoma.
Those who are known to fight it out at the nomination level for an ODM ticket are Sospeter Ojaamong who will be defending his seat, Otuoma, to dethrone him as well as Nakitari but it is not yet known whether Sidai will fight it out on the UDF or ANC ticket.
However the Jubilee lot is led by Eng. Barasa with the same party eyeing greedily to grab Meso for the same but still un-decided to wanting to release the AFC boss from that position.
That is because he is the only technocrat from the county holding a top position in a state corporation – therefore when released to enter the political fray it may paint a negative picture for Jubilee with the county having nobody employed in a senior position in the Jubilee government.
However on the other hand Meso may find himself in a big dilemma if he chooses to quit his job and enter the fray with a majority of his supporters wanting him to join the NASA group before they can propel him to thrash Ojaamong at the next general elections while Jubilee may still want to keep him on their side and also make him their flag bearer at that same level to replace Eng. Barasa.
It must also be remembered that late last year at an event Meso hosted the Deputy President at Bukhalalire in Butula Sub-county where he hails from the DP said that they (Jubilee) would look into between Meso and Barasa when the time comes on whom to choose to contest against Ojaamong in the 2017 general elections.
What is very clear is the fact that Meso is a very valuable asset to both the Jubilee and NASA political divides with best chances in NASA than the former.
The Principal reason is because the of Busia County that is perceived as an Opposition zone and his highly excellent credentials as a professional without any scandalous blemishes hovering over him like some of those seeking the county’s top office.
However for obvious reasons Jubilee top proponents who appear not ready to spend their money on areas they may heavily lose seems to have settled on Eng. Barasa and at the same time making him Western Kenya region Jubilee party’s coordinator.