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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Fresh intrigues in Bungoma politics

There is increasing political heat in Bungoma county two years to the next general elections. The gubernatorial race that has kicked off in earnest has elicited sharp debate as early political strategies are put in place.
The move has attracted critics from the public terming it as premature and an impediment to development. Intriguing political twists and turns are expected to unfold in the county as fresh bid for governorship slot start shaping up.
The new kids on block have now pulled off their gloves for the battle that will define political events in the county through to the next polls. The under-the-carpet war between Bungoma county governor Kenneth Lusaka and newcomer Wycliffe Wangamati however seems to be attracting attention and momentum with time.
The battle is dragging in political heavyweights Eugene Wamalwa of New Ford Kenya party and Moses Wetangula of Ford Kenya.
Nominated MP Patrick Wang’amati, the father to Wycliffe  is slated to be pulled into the matrix by either default or design for whichever political interest that will suit the time.
The former FERA (February 18 Resistant Army) activist and Luhya Council of Elders chairman will be a key reference in the contest.
Pundits have been keen to note that the memorable and painful Bukusu history associated with the movement will be getting unmasked in the dirty political campaigns.
Emerging secret claims are however emerging that Wetang’ula might be lining up strategies to go for the seat to challenge Lusaka.
Insiders in Wetang’ula’s kitchen cabinet say that the shrewd politician might be disguising behind the young Wang’amati to avoid exhausting his cards hidden under the table.
The move is buttressed by claims that the Tongaren MP and Ford Kenya party secretary general Eseli Simiyu is flexing muscles for the senatorial seat. Kanduyi legislator Wafula Wamunyinyi name is being mentioned for the senatorial seat signalling the tight race ahead of the title, although others say he wants to go for governorship. It is emerging,Wetangula camp wants the position of senator and governorship be held  on rotational basis. Since Lusaka is from Kimilili side, the next governor should be from the Bungoma side with Kimilili getting senate slot. Simiyu is to be senator.
Lusaka and Wangamati now seem to be marking each other early in the game as both camps jostle for support from opinion leaders and political activists.
Last December the two horses tore into a popular social network group that has been engaging in political campaigns and debate.
The move comes in the wake of political overtones in a fundraiser in Kimatuni Church in Bungoma recently after Governor Lusaka clashed with Wangamati, sending the congregation into panic.
The two who met for the first time in the same forum took the opportunity to pull their dangerous cards to outshine each other as their political sycophants clashed head on.
Wamalwa who accompanied Lusaka told young Wangamati to consider going for senatorial position currently occupied by Wetang’ula as he ascends to the presidency.
In a rejoinder Wangamati withdrew his earlier position and called off the bid for governorship. Word has it that Wangamati is set to quit politics. He has told close friends to the effect, he is being pushed by well known political conmen from the county who have been asking for handouts now and then. One of the said wheelerdealers is said to have perfected the art to an extent he was once close to Lusaka, was given a construction contract and did a shoddy job but when questioned shifted camp to Wangamati.  Two, Wangamati men claim it may not be easy to win going by county regional politics. Wangamati and Wetang’ula come from the same side. If Wetang’ula decides to go for presidency or defends his seat; opinion is as an act of balance, a face from the Kabuchai his home area will be out technically. Already, talk is that Wangamati factor is of no value due to his family location. Then we have the elder Wangamati being nominated by Wetangula party to parliament.
Feeling the heat, Wang’amati is back to the drawing board. “I am just an investor in the county and I am not keen in the seat,’’ said Wangamati.
Keen political observers argue that young Wangamati could just be warming the seat for Wetangula who has in the recent past been keen with governor’s seat on discovering the gap between grassroots contact and senate seat.
Wetangula is on record for having declared his support in public hinting that Wangamati will be going for the seat.
“You know that Wang’amati has assembled his bells and he is preparing for the rite,’’ said Wetang’ula in Bukusu dialect, a move seen as an open endorsement of candidature to run against Lusaka in the forthcoming polls. Lusaka was absent on a trip to France.
The sentiments by Wetang’ula have however been received with diverse opinions with a number predicting a sour relation between the duo with Lusaka in the county top leadership trickling down further to the young politician who will have to bear the brunt and kickstart his bid with a massive burden of inheriting his godfather’s enemies all the way to the polls.
At the fundraiser, Lusaka shelved the 2017 politics ignited by political activists Jack Wamboka and Trans-Nzoia county government political adviser Moses Mwambu  and instead maintained to his development scorecard that he said will be judged by the voters in the polls.
“There is deliberate efforts by some selfish politicians to be blind to the ongoing developments in the county for their own interests, however the public will be the best judges to decide what we have done in our respective call of duties,’’ said Lusaka.
Lusaka called off premature politics being peddled in the county saying that it abhors the public who are keen to see their lives changed.
Pundits have however said the new political stage being set in the county would have an implication in the 2017 general elections with a section terming the Wangamati’s bid for governorship as premature.
Some section have argued that Wangamati will have a Herculean task to isolate himself as “project” of  a known political godfather and distinguish himself as an independent candidate.
Pundits argue that his entry into politics through a warring camp against Lusaka administration might wobble his bid and put him on the defence to shed the tag.
It is however not clear if Alfred Khang’ati will throw his hat in the ring though political observers argue that he might offer challenge to the incumbent. Khang’ati has since taken a low profile after the last contest that saw him come second after Lusaka.