Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula is fighting a survival battle with his emerging political rival, Bungoma governor Wycliffe Wangamati.
The two are out to control the party from the grassroot to national level. The governor has silent support of cabinet secretary Eugene Wamalwa who it is said will return to the party if Wangamati takes control.
In Bungoma polls, top county seats were filled using a consensus at Kanduyi Stadium in Bungoma county.
Word has it, aware Wangamati camp was set for victory, Wetangula resorted to consensus. Insiders say, the war is due to the fact, Wetangula will oppose Wangamati 2022 with Eseli Simiyu going for senator.
The politics in the region is bound to change with the return of Mukhisa Kituyi set to be eyeing presidency.
The lion party was to hold its county polls on Sunday June 9, only for the director of elections, Janet Ondieki, to suspend the exercise in the wake of unpopular demands by some delegates to handpick certain individuals to top positions.
This effectively saw majority of the delegates go for consensus as the most ideal solution to the standoff largely blamed on incessant infighting and supremacy battles within Kenya’s oldest opposition outfit in the aftermath of the introduction of plural politics in early 1990s.
Wetangula, who is also the Bungoma senator, at one point convened a meeting to help neuter the competing interests in vain. A section of the delegates stood their ground, tenaciously swearing to foil any maneuvers intended at favouring individuals at the expense of a democratic process.
Bungoma woman representative, Catherine Wambilianga, had earlier petitioned the party’s election tribunal to stop the exercise, arguing the elections were a sham. Wambilianga protested that the purported elections in Webuye East and Webuye West constituencies had not been conducted according to the law.
On his part, Governor Wangamati challenged the party to be embrace inclusivity and democratic culture on whose foundation Ford Kenya was built.
The elections were to involve delegates from nine subcounties and sought to fill the posts of chairman, vice-chairman, secretary general, deputy secretary general, treasurer, assistant treasurer, organising secretary and women leader.
A swift move by Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi who was elected county chairman saved the situation. Cleophas Wachana, was installed the new secretary-general, with Peter Wakulekha assuming the mantle of deputy SG. The senator was fronting him for SG slot.
Levi Makali from Sirisia and Agrey Namisi from Webuye West sub counties are the new treasurer and deputy treasurer respectively. The position of county chairmanship had threatened to tear the party down through the middle, occasioning a push and pull never seen before between two camps allied to deputy governor Charles Ngome on the one hand and Wamunyinyi on the other.
Whereas Wamunyinyi is neutral, Ngome – the deputy governor – is duty bound to rally behind his boss, Governor Wangamati.
At one time Wetangula camp sensing defeat even claimed Sirisia MP John Waluke who is a frontrunner in the governorship race 2022 was interfering with the elections to destabilise the lion party.
It is worth noting that Wetangula’s presumed fallout with his erstwhile financier, Wangamati, has all to do with the senator’s plans to unseat his governor come 2022.
Recent reports attributable to insider sources paint Wetang’ula as a dejected political partner who has since lost out on Wangamati’s magnanimity, with the governor said to have cut off the much-needed financial support. The Sh400m gold scandal has further tainted the senator image on ground.
Like Wangamati, hitherto a close ally and benefactor of Wetang’ula’s, Trans Nzoia governor Patrick Khaemba is also alleged to have stopped financing Ford Kenya activities through monies channeled to the party leader.
Others who were elected to various positions are Allan Wocha (youth leader), Millie Masungo (women leader), Mulisombo Sabuni (organising secretary) and Macklins Nangalama as deputy organising secretary.
Speaking in Bungoma upon the completion of the exercise, Wetang’ula said they will embark on a nationwide member recruitment exercise to strengthen the party ahead of the eagerly awaited 2022 polls.
After the countrywide grassroots exercise close later this month, Ford-K will set a date for the National Delegates Conference at the Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi.
Trans Nzoia is a Ford Kenya stronghold in the larger Rift Valley. Other than Trans Nzoia, protests from party officials in Webuye West subcounty saw the exercise stopped.
In the meantime, a showdown is looming between Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa and his Tongaren counterpart Eseli Simiyu over the control of the party secretariat.
Eseli who is the current current secretary general, is readying himself for a titanic battle with the outspoken Wamalwa, who blames the SG for sleeping on the job as the party’s political fortunes dwindle by the day.
The Kiminini lawmaker is also expected to throw his hat in the ring for the top county job – the Trans