Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi are said to have met separately with ODM leader Raila Odinga — to seek his support for the presidency.
Oparanya and Mudavadi met Raila to persuade him to support either of them in the race to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta, but nothing much has come out of the meetings, according to sources.
The two have made it clear that they will not support Raila in his fifth bid for the top seat.
Sources told The Standard that Raila remained non-committal on their demand that he backs a candidate from Western.
Raila is said to have been guarded on whether he would vie for the presidency in 2022.
At the weekend, Oparanya said he was in talks with Mudavadi to ensure the Luhya community fields one presidential candidate in the next elections.
Oparanya, Mudavadi and Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula are said to be angling for the ticket to fly the Mulembe nation flag should the talks bear fruits.
And yesterday during a funeral service in Khwisero, Oparanya said plans to have one candidate from Western region were underway.
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Mr Oparanya, who announced he would vie for a bigger post at the national level after completing his final term, said he met Mudavadi last week to discuss 2022 politics.
“I have no problem with who becomes presidential candidate in 2022. We are in dialogue with Mudavadi and you cannot speculate what we are discussing. Leaders saying one of us should step down should not be of concern to you but concentrate on how we will achieve the top seat. We will soon tell you our agreement, the way forward and our agenda,” he said.
Oparanya pledged to ensure all projects he had initiated were completed before exiting the county leadership to try his luck in national politics.
The former Planning minister, who also served as Butere MP for 10 years, said he had gained invaluable experience when he served as minister during President Kibaki’s administration.
“I decided to contest the governorship seat because of the vast experience I had gained as Planning minister. It has not been easy actualising my dream to transform livelihoods in Kakamega by addressing rampant poverty in rural communities,” Oparanya said.
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Mt Elgon MP Fred Kapondi said Mudavadi should ensure votes from Western region were intact by uniting all his supporters before seeking help from outside.
“If the ANC party leader continues stepping down for others to vie for presidency, I challenge Governor Oparanya to go for the presidency,” Kapondi said.
Webuye West MP Dan Wanyama concurred with Kapondi’s sentiments and asked Mudavadi to change tactics in his campaigns, if he wants to get the top seat.
“You cannot be doing the same thing over and over again and expect to get different results. The seat is not given but you must fight for it. The ANC party leader should hold meetings with leaders from various parts of the country in order to consolidate his support and reach out to areas considered to be the strongholds of his opponents,” Mr Wanyama said.
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He added: “Crafting a winning formula and reaching out to significant political players in all regions will help you get more votes. If you fail to do that, we won’t hesitate supporting Oparanya.”
Luanda MP Christopher Omulele said Oparanya was suited for presidency because of his development record.
“We will support his mission because he has proved to serve the people well,” said Omulele.
Shinyalu MP Justus Kizito said a good leader should not lose touch in politics.
“ODM party leader Raila Odinga applauded Oparanya during Mashujaa Day for development in Kakamega and that shows when voted in as a President, he can perform better. He already has 1.5 million votes from Kakamega, he needs to start campaigning in other regions,” Mr Kizito said.
Ikolomani MP Bernard Shinali said Oparanya’s performance had shown he had the potential of delivering at the national level.
“We have tarmacked roads in most estates and modernnised markets because of his development agenda for the county. We must negotiate for him to get into Government so that his development legacy continues,” Shinali said.
On sugar politics, Oparanya said the Government would pay farmers Sh2.6 billion.
“Corruption in State-owned millers has been a challenge. Audit has been done to get genuine farmers and the money released by the Government will be channelled directly to their accounts. From January 15, we will be visiting sugar belt zones in Western, Nyanza, Kwale, Mombasa among others to get views from farmers and stakeholders on how to improve the sugar industry and give feedback to the President to help us get way forward,” he said.
And during a fundraiser in Kanduyi on Saturday, Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati told politicians from the region to work on a formula towards forming a winning coalition.
He said leaders coming together was the only way to garner support from the massive Luhya tribe and other regions for their political agenda in 2022.
“Luhya unity is inevitable, it is the only scheme we can use to gain political mileage and air our concerns,” said Wangamati.
According to him, lack of unity among Luhya leaders is what had contributed to previous disappointments.
He, however, told leaders to consult adequately before naming the region’s political kingpin.
“The political structure in 2022 is unpredictable, but we can prepare for it as early as possible by coming together,” he said.
There have been concerns whether Wetang’ula and Mudavadi could shelve their ambitions and work together. This was after Wetang’ula declared he had ditched NASA, citing frustrations from Raila .
But in a fresh twist of events, some Luhya leaders, including Vihiga Governor Wilber Ottichilo and Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, signed a pact during the 15th memorial of former Vice President Kijana Wamalwa in quest for Luhya unity.
The leaders signed the deal hoping it would ensure one of them succeeds President Kenyatta.
They have, however, been skeptical over forming an alliance with other communities.
Speaking at the Saturday function, Mr Wamalwa supported the call for Luhya unity, but cautioned that it should not be used to forge political animosity with other tribes.
“Our coming together should not be an opportunity to cause havoc with other tribes, instead it should create a platform for pushing our political and economic agenda,” said Wamalwa.
According to Kalwalwe, the region has hardly benefited from former alliances and it is time they welcomed a new political truce.
The vocal politician has been urging the Luhya to work with Deputy President William Ruto in his quest for presidency in 2022.
“We are looking forward to forming an outfit with the Kalenjin community through their kingpin William Ruto. Our friendship with other nations has yielded no fruit, and we are willing to work with other communities,” said Khalwale in a past function.