Even as Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto intensify their campaigns in Western Kenya, all is not well as Western MPs allied to Jubilee have made huge budgetary demands that has shocked the Jubilee party leadership.
This week, we reveal how a number of Western leaders demanded Sh1 billion campaign funds to market Jubilee in the Luhya dominated counties. Although Uhuru is said to have reluctantly agreed to their request, Ruto is said to have termed the demands as unrealistic and above the party’s allocation for the region.
This demand was made after Jubilee addressed rallies in Kakamega, Busia and Bungoma counties which were well attended. Details of how the Jubilee leaders made the remarks have now emerged with a list of MPs who made the demands.
The leaders who made the Sh1 billion demand were Bernard Shinali, Ikolomani, Mary Emase, Teso South, John Waluke, Sirisia, Ben Washiali, Mumias East, Dan Wanyama, Webuye West, Boniface Otsyula, Bumula, Ababu Namwamba, Budalangi, Emmanuel Wangwe, Navakholo, former ODM youth leader Rashid Mohammed and Emuhaya parliamentary aspirant Caled Ingolo among others.
According to the leaders, they needed the money to soften the grounds for the president and the Jubilee party. Apart from the campaign money, the leaders are also demanding that their security be enhanced claiming they face physical threats ever since they got nominations to fly Jubilee party flag in the August 8 general elections.
Sources revealed that although Uhuru claimed the Sh1 billion was on the higher side, the DP is said to have told the MPs to their face that they should not hold them at ransom. The MPs claimed that Western Kenya has opposition political bigwigs including two Nasa principals Musalia Mudavadi of Amani and Moses Wetang’ula of Ford-Kenya.
It is against that fear that the MPs are said to have told Uhuru that Luhya voters have a soft spot for Nasa and marketing Jubilee required huge amounts of money. It has also emerged that the MPs told Uhuru and Ruto that before defecting to Jubilee, they held several meetings with Ruto who assured them that their security will be enhanced, allocated campaign vehicles, materials and that their campaigns would be financed fully by Jubilee. The MPs now claim that all the promises the DP made have never been fulfilled.
It is also being whispered that during the meeting, an angry Uhuru told the MPs that they have been receiving Sh1 million each every month from the Jubilee headquarters but Jubilee has failed to make serious inroads in the region.
We have also discovered that the MPs gave further demands of the equivalent of a five-year worth of salary should they lose their seats for going against the grains. Also in the demand list is for the government to give directives that chief and their assistants must ensure they are invited to speak during funerals some of which they might not be aware of and which may be attended by their opponents.
Investigations further reveal that the Jubilee leaders are also demanding that the campaign funds be disbursed to them directly and not through the leaders identified by Jubilee as pointmen in the region.
Already, UhuRuto is said to be dishing out campaign funds through Bungoma governor Kenneth Lusaka, Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali and Teso South MP Mary Emase. The leaders are, however, not happy claiming that the money leaves Jubilee headquarters but does not trickle down to the grassroots. The big question that Jubilee supporters in Western Kenya are asking is that do these three have the capacity to marshal support for the Jubilee party and help it garner majority votes during the polls.
It is claimed that the three do not command a large following in the vote-rich region. The four counties of Busia, Bungoma, Kakamega and Vihiga, combined, have an estimated three million voters and every politician envisioning to vie for the presidency targets at scooping a sizeable chunk of these votes.
Emase represents Teso South, a constituency with approximately 40,000 registered voters according to the latest IEBC figures. Going by the recent developments where Emase led a group Jubilee women politicians in a tour of her constituency and were given a rude welcome, then, she would not do much in marketing Jubilee not only in her constituency and Busia county but in the entire Western region.
Lusaka on the other hand, of late, has lost support in Bungoma county. About two months ago, over 10 MCAs elected through New Ford Kenya, the party through which he won the 2013 elections to become governor decamped to ODM and Amani.
Compared to Senator Moses Wetang’ula, the governor controls a small fraction of voters in the county. If the opposite of this argument is anything to go by, the Wetang’ula would not have won the 2014 senatorial by-election in which Lusaka campaigned for former Webuye MP Musikari Kombo.
Conclusively, therefore, Lusaka should have been the last man Jubilee should have placed its bet on in wooing Western voters. Washiali on the other hand, is a man who can not be depended on.
At the time Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba, Funyula’s Paul Otuoma and Sirisia’s John Waluke announced their departure from ODM, Washiali jumped ship and joined the three. Days later, however, when he led a group of youth in erecting a Jubilee billboard in Mumias town, he was repulsed by a rival group that claimed Jubilee had done little in Western to warrant support.
Lusaka, Washiali and Emase have an uphill task to popularise Uhuru’s presidential candidature in the four counties of Western.
Jubilee leaders have, however, warned Nasa to be prepared for a titanic battle as Jubilee has made serious inroads in to the region going by the overwhelming attendance that was seen during Uhuru’s rallies in Kakamega, Bungoma and Busia counties.
Sirisia MP John Waluke has, however, rubbished claims that Jubilee party ferried people to attend its rally in Bungoma county and further noted that the ruling party had gained some substantial political ground in Western Kenya, vowing to give the opposition coalition Nasa a run for their money during the forthcoming general elections.
Elsewhere, Shinyalu parliamentary candidate on Jubilee ticket Babetuu Amutavy has been hailed for successfully handling the recent presidential visit in Kakemega County where President Uhuru addressed a rally at Khayega market including other centres before a major rally at Bukhungu stadium.