By Roselyne Obala
The stage is set for a political showdown in Western Province as Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo prepares to name his new party in the wake of tough unending supremacy battles.
Jirongo will name his new outfit on August 5, a few months after ditching Eldoret North MP William Ruto-led URP.
And as the intrigues of political influence, relevance and clout play out vividly in Western, Jirongo’s renewed entry will further blur the chances of the Luhya uniting behind one presidential candidate.
Besides Jirongo, the region’s State House hopefuls include Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi, Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa, and Trade Minister Moses Wetangula. Political analysts say Jirongo’s presidential bid might not be serious and that he could only be, after all, struggling to remain relevant in the Kibaki succession matrix.
Samuel Okuro of Bondo University College says Jirongo’s politics has always revolved around supremacy battles pitting him and Mudavadi.
“Mudavadi has now elbowed him in Luhya politics when he declared interest in the presidency. His aspirations are a political scheme to remain afloat,” he said.
Dr Okuro says his acrimonious falling out with Ruto, the United Republican Party presidential hopeful, has further thrown him back to the drawing board.
“It took the naming of Matuga MP Chirau Ali Mwakwere as Ruto’s running mate for Jirongo to realise he was being side lined in the party and he could not contest under the party’s ticket,” he said.
Another analyst, Egara Kabaji, says Jirongo’s bid lacks significance in the region. “Jirongo is not among those whom Kenyans have to watch keenly in the next polls, going by the turbulent terrain,” he notes.
Prof Kabaji said Jirongo was relevant in Luhya politics at first when he dared Mudavadi to declare his bid for president. “When the DPM did ditch ODM for UDF and has proved quite serious. It threw him back to the drawing board,” he says.