BATTLE ROYALE IN MATUNGU AS MUDAVADI, RAILA, AND RUTO SQUARE IT OUT. WHO WILL BLINK FIRST?
It is now going down on Thursday 4th. The question on many peoples minds is, Who will it be? Who will blink first??
The Matungu by-election occasioned by the demise of Hon Murunga of ANC has once again demonstrated that 2022 politics are at play now. In fact the voters have been treated to a scenario where the popularity contest between Mudavadi, Raila, and Ruto is now playing out.
Whereas many see Mudavadi as the defacto Luhya leader and one whose candidate should have an upper hand, other factors have played a part in forcing the ANC leader to spend a considerable amount of time in Matungu with both Raila and Ruto hot on his heels dying to cause an upset here. Never mind Mudavadi is the Luhya spokesman and therefore Matungu should be his bedroom so to speak.
On Saturday, while en route from Bungoma county where he attended the burial of Bungoma governors mother, Raila made a stopover in Matungu and vouched for the ODM’s candidate in Matungu, Raila rallied the voters to back former area MP David Were as a confirmation of the party’s strength in the region.
‘’Iam here as your son, I request you to vote for my party candidate David Were in the forthcoming election to confirm that Odm remains the party of choice in this region’’ Raila said.
On his part Hon Mudavadi, who has declared interest in the presidency come 2022, is seeking to consolidate support in his backyard. Mudavadi has declared Matungu as the test for the long-elusive Luhya unity and the choice of his candidate is to demonstrate the same.
Mudavadi and Wetangula unity pact….
The two leaders made an agreement not to field candidates against each other in the mini polls. They have roped in Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka and Kanu Chairman Gideon Moi in the campaigns they have framed to be the beginning of an alliance for the 2022 contest.
Matungu Constituency, whose seat fell vacant after the death of Justus Murunga, has five wards with 116 polling stations.
The voting pattern appears to be shifting, even as the race shapes up into a battle pitting Raila, Mudavadi, and Ruto.
All the thee have toured Matungu to drum up support for their candidates; Were (ODM), Peter Nabulindo (ANC), and Alex Lanya (UDA).
Besides political parties, other factors that could tilt the equation in the race include clan politics and the 2022 succession race.
Lanya and Nabulindo all come from the populous Bashitsetse clan while Were comes from the minority and the trio are the front runners.
Other candidates in the race are Charles Kasamani (United Democratic Party), Paul Achayo (Movement for Democracy and Growth) and Faida Auma (Maendeleo Chap Chap).
Others are just participating in the race….
Independent candidates are Murunga’s widow Christabel Jane Murunga and son Eugene Murunga Ambwere, Bernard Wakoli, Gregory Atoko, Kevin Borry Nectus, Wilberforce Lutta, Athman Wangara, Anzelimo Kongoti and Samuel Munyekenye.
ANC’s Nabulindo is optimistic that he will carry the day should the clan card play out, although both he and UDA’s Lanya come from the dominant Abashitsetse clan.
Wakoli and Were are from the minority sub-clans of Abamurono and Nyaboro.
So far, Nabulindo, Lanya and Were have emerged as front-runners in the race.
Nabulindo is pledging to focus on education and equitable distribution of resources.
Were, who resigned last year as the chairman of the board of Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC), says there is unfinished business from his previous term and Murunga’s, which he intends to complete.
We are united behind Mudavadi.
Yesterday, ANC deputy party leader Ayub Savula who is also eyeing the Kakamega governorship said a win by an ANC candidate would be a strong statement that western region is fully behind Mudavadi’s presidential bid.
“Matungu is a competition between Oparanya and Mudavadi. We will ensure we take the seat so that we raise the ratings of Mudavadi. The election is not just about Matungu, but about the people of Western determining their destiny ahead of 2022,” said Savula.
However, ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna was of a different opinion.
‘’ The by election here is all about the people of Matungu and who among the candidates is selling to the people the agenda.Any other foreign narrative is pedestrial and will not determine the choice of the people. As ODM we are presenting a candidate who will serve the people well’’ said Sifuna.
The same sentiments are shared by Hon Godfrey Osotsi himself a former ANC Party Sg but who was spotted in the company of Rail Odinga drumming up support for David Were.
‘’ All politics is local. The people of Matungu will choose a candidate whose manifesto resonate well with them. This is only a by election but if some other people want to make it look like a dress rehearsal for 2022 they are misplaced. We still have enough time to prepare for 2022 and they political landscape may change according to several factors’’ said he.
Will it be David Were of Odm, Peter Oscar Nabulindo of ANC or Alex Lanya Of UDA? Let the people decide.