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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 2 November 2014

POLITICAL REALIGNMENTS IN VIHIGA POLITICS

A courtesy call on Vihiga governor Moses Akaranga by his political archrival who emerged second in the race for the top seat Ken Butiko has fuelled speculation of a political pact between the two politicians ahead of the 2017 general elections.
Akaranga contested on the little known Progressive Party of Kenya to win the governorship against a strong wave of Musalia Mudavadi’s UDF and Raila Odinga’s Cord which were the most popular parties in the area during the 2013 polls.
The former church minister, banker and cabinet minister managed got 58,580 votes with Butiko coming a close second with 56,059 votes on Cord ticket. Other aspirants who contested for the position included Prof Inonda Mwanje (FPK), Dr Jairus Amayi (UDF) Francis Inganji (Napk) and Reuben Kigame (RBK).
Butiko mounted a formidable campaign that saw him traverse all corners of the county with pundits viewing him as a front runner in the race. Political observers have attributed Butiko’s loss to Akaranga to the fact that he shared the Banyore votes in Emuhaya and Luanda constituencies with other candidates from the area; Prof Mwanje and Dr Amayi as well as gospel singer Kigame who has roots in the area but has settled in Hamisi constituency. 
The 30-minute closed-door meeting in Akaranga’s office has generated interest in the county with political grape vine gripped by rumours of an imminent memorandum of understanding between the two in a political deal that could see Butiko becoming running mate to Akaranga in 2017 elections.
But Butiko has refuted reports of negotiations of a power deal, emphasing the visit was purely a courtesy call to get him informed of Akaranga’s development agenda for the county, maintaining that he will contest for the same position in the next elections. He asked his supporters to ignore the rumours of him settling for a running mate position and wait for the mother of all battles in 2017. He ruled out early campaigns for the position saying Akaranga should be accorded ample time to implement his election manifesto of which will be reviewed by voters at the end of this term.  
Butiko met Akaranga accompanied by nominated member of Vihiga county assembly and ODM youth leader Ben Ombima and Mwibona ward county rep and deputy assembly minority leader Zack Manyasa before they were later joined by deputy governor Caleb Amaswache alias Yokozuna.
However, the three left the governor’s office after about five minutes duration, leaving Akaranga and Butiko in the meeting only for Akaranga to summon his press team for a briefing and photo session.
A posting on social media by the governor’s press team merely indicated that Butiko had paid a courtesy call on Akaranga and expressed the desire to work with him in achieving the set development goals for the county.
Political events are unfolding in the county ahead of 2017. Yusuf Chanzu has declared he will go for governorship on UDF ticket. However, he is said to have declined upon learning professionals and businessmen across the region were pushing Ken Vitisia to go for the seat. Vitisia has links in the constituencies and if he decides to run, envoy Franklin Esipira from Emuhaya is likely to be his running mate. Emuhaya MP Wilbur Otichillo is also set to run for the coveted governorship seat.
Chanzu has not identified his running mate but word has it, Akaranga will drop Amaswache in favour of Sande Mukuna, currently serving as an executive member in the county. Sabatia MP Alfred Agoi has also hinted he is going for the seat. As things stand with Chanzu being blamed for being sympathetic to deputy president William Ruto, a man out to block Musalia Mudavadi’s political mechanisms, then Vitisia, a diplomat, is a man to watch. In Nairobi, those who bankrolled Akaranga election in 2013 Teazers Brothers among them John Nanjoli, Patrick Nanjoli, Geoffrey Injogu, George Odanga, Lawrence Chongo, a one Musumba and banker Anai George are all gravitating towards Vitisia. Ken Imbuga, a key player in 2013 strategies that worked for Akaranga, is playing his cards safe.
In the larger Bunyore, Vitisia is said to have a network which cuts across the board. Those close to Mudavadi say he contributed a lot during his bid for presidency.