A SHELL THAT NEVER WAS
When Musalia Mudavadi ditched the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) in February this year, many in his home turf of Western praised his move. Some even said it was an act of bravery.
Mr Mudavadi had cited lack of internal democracy in the party. He said there was no chance of him vying for presidency in ODM. He then bolted to a hitherto little known party known as the United Democratic Forum.
From that time, Mr Mudavadi has been on the campaign trail castigating ODM and its leaders. His pet phrase has been ODM is a shell. The results for the recent by election in Bukura proved him wrong.
By Francis Ontomwa
United Democratic Front (UDF) presidential candidate, Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi could be facing tough times ahead after he lost a crucial civic by-election to his former party, ODM which he has since dismissed as “a shell.”
UDF failure to capture the Bukura ward civic seat in his Kakamega County backyard, despite camping there for days, has jolted his plans to consolidate the Luhya into a single voting bloc ahead of the General Elections.
Analysts now say UDF may have lost the seat after its strategists assumed it had kicked ODM out of the region. They may also have assumed that Luhyas were firmly behind Mr Mudavadi not knowing ODM still has firm structures in many parts of the province.
They say the outcome of the civic by-election could be a pointer to the fact that many in this community still have faith in ODM, the party he quit following alleged differences with his long-time friend- Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
They say UDF may have also settled on an unpopular candidate during the nominations or could not just match the ODM campaign tactics.
“We blame it on Mudavadi’s close advisers. They made him thump his chest that ODM is finished. They made a lot of assumptions,” says Jacob Ndinya, a UDF supporter.
The outcome has also re-defined the supremacy wars between Mr Mudavadi and Mr Odinga in Western counties as it emerged that the UDF team has called for a retreat to lay new campaign strategies following the embarrassing loss.
Pharmacist Reuben Nyangweso of ODM floored two other candidates in the contest, Walter Andati of UDF and Faith Manya of Maendeleo Democratic party.
Mr Nyangweso garnered 1850 votes to trounce his closest challenger Andati who managed 1195 votes while Ms Manya managed a paltry 30 votes out of the 3153 cast in the civic election.
The Prime Minister quickly issued a statement congratulating Mr Nyangweso.
“The people have spoken and we must respect their verdict,” said Mr Odinga.