Making a mark
- Jirongo first went to Parliament in 1997, lost in 2002, before winning back the Lugari seat in 2007
- Political observers believe the easiest part for Jirongo was to launch the presidential bid, but the biggest challenge is to make a mark in the race
- Among his allies in FPK is Ganze MP Francis Baya
By Stephen Makabila
Two decades later, Jirongo, who was the chairman of the now defunct group has launched his bid for president on a Federal Party of Kenya (FPK) ticket.
But the question remains, does Jirongo have the political energy, support, and magic he had 20 years ago to make a mark in the coming transitional presidential election? This is the question friend and foe are mulling over.
Jirongo launched his presidential bid on September 9, indicating his agenda will be to ensure equal distribution of resources through the county governments, as a way of fighting inequality, which he feels is fueling tribalism.
“We have used Government as a pathway to riches, to isolate and discriminate other parts of the country. And this led to the ‘explosion’ we saw four years ago. Today we would give ourselves praises of how we have achieved economic development, but we never answer the question of ‘who have we achieved it for,” Jirongo said, during the launch of his bid at the KICC.
While he was elected to Parliament on a Kaddu ticket in the 2007 General Election as Lugari MP, his second election in parliamentary politics after his 1997 win, Jirongo shifted to United Republic Party (URP) after his party was deregistered and moved on later after falling out with the URP de-facto leader William Ruto.
His next stop was FPK despite reports having also linked him to United Democratic Movement, whose Secretary General Martin Kamwaro confirmed they had talks with the Lugari MP, but failed to strike a compromise.
Jirongo is among several other presidential aspirants from Western Province, among them Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Musalia Mudavadi, Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa, and Trade Minister Moses Wetangula.
While Wamalwa and Wetangula are from the Bukusu community, the most populous sub-tribe of Luhya, and Mudavadi from the Maragoli, the second sub-tribe after in population, Jirongo comes from the Tiriki, a minority among the Luhya.
The minority question, according to political observers, explains why Jirongo has in the past unsuccessfully pushed for Luhya unity.