The Kabuchai Parliamentary byelection is metamorphosing into a litmus test that may decide the future of Bungoma County politics.
Coming on the heels of a coup, fronted by Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi,his Tongareni counterpart Eseli Simiyu and Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati, in the region’s age old party Ford Kenya,the duel pitting United Democratic Alliance candidate Evans Kakai against Ford Kenya flag bearer,Joseph Majimbo Kalasinga as the front runners has prompted leaders from the region to draw battle lines and claim association with parties aligned to the two.
On Majimbo’s side is Bungoma Senator and embattled Ford Kenya Party Leader Moses Wetangula and the Member of County Assembly from Chwele/Kabuchai Ward out of the four wards that make up Kabuchai. On the other hand,Evans Kakai enjoys support from three MCAs led by his home MCA Hon. Wapang’ana and all the members of parliament from Bungoma county.
The shift in this race to succeed the late Hon. James Mukwe,who succumbed to arthritis after a long unsuccessful battle,has got Wetangula flat footed forcing him to seek help from outside of Bungoma county. Wetangula has been inviting Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa,Kitutu Chache MP Richard Onyonka to accompany him in his effort to counter the wave created by MPs led by Bumula’s Mwambu Mabongah.
In an exhibition of extreme desperation, Wetangula invited Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka,Gideon Moi and Martha Karua for a lap of solidarity with his candidate. Wetangula claimed that their union was set to grow into a formidable ‘alliance of new ideas’. Pundits have been left wondering which new ideas Kalonzo,Mudavadi,Karua and Gideon will bring to the table after serving in various cadres in several governments.
That Wetangula is desperate to get even a single legislator from Bungoma to his side was exhibited by his Media and Public Relations team. The team,operating under his firm instructions, has taken to social media chastising legislators whom Wetangula feels threatened by. Latest on their radar is Mwambu Mabongah who the senator views as the one determined to inherit the political clout he enjoys currently. The senator’s team is out to sever his ties with the Hustler team by accusing him of seeking the senator’s audience.
The legislator has been the face of the scathing political wave weaving that has catapulted Evans Kakai to rank favourably in opinion polls. Circles in the senator’s team intimate that with Mabongah leading the pack against him,he is bound to lose since his wit,oratory prowess and his ability to meticulously counter the Senator almost to a word cannot be compared to any other politician.
Reached for comment on the purported calls,Mabongah has asked Wetangula to play to his stature or come clean and tell the people that they overate him.
“This politics of intimidation and blackmail is what we are fighting against in Bungoma and Kenya. If Wetangula wishes to call me he is free to. But he must be told that I will ask him to support Kakai and join us in redeeming Kabuchai and Bungoma,” Mabongah said.
The push,pull and shove is expected to be well addressed by the voters in the March 4 elections.