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Wetangula’s threat to walk out of NASA could scuttle ANC, Ford K merger plans

By John Shilitsa And Kepher Otieno | Published Sat, July 21st 2018 at 00:33, Updated July 21st 2018 at 00:36 GMT +3
National Super Alliance (NASA) principal,Moses Wetang'ula

In summary

  • Plans to have one political party for Western aborts

Moses Wetang’ula has thrown a spanner into Western Kenya politics after announcing that his party, Ford Kenya, is ready to walk out of the National Super Alliance over betrayal and broken promises.

His threat further scuttles an attempt at unifying his party with the Amani National Congress, following the unwillingness by ANC and its leader Musalia Mudavadi to follow in the Bungoma senator’s footsteps.

Mudavadi and Wetang’ula have in the past few months been criss-crossing Western region selling the Luhya unity agenda, fronting a clarion call of collapsing their parties to form a mega outfit.

The two are now speaking at cross-purposes, with Mudavadi warming himself to the ODM wing. He has said NASA is there to stay and his party will not walk out. Wetang’ula, on the other hand, has walked his party to a lone-horse and vowed to strengthen it.

A team, led by ANC Secretary General Barrack Muluka and former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale, who is the Ford Kenya deputy party leader, was formed to spearhead the merger arrangements a couple of months ago.

No value added

But Wetang’ula’s abrupt turn-around has come as a surprise even as Mudavadi has reached out to him to rethink the position.

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ANC nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi says the attempts to merge the two parties would not add any value to the region’s politics.

“What they are doing is an exercise in futility,” Osotsi said.

He said the real cause of the failure of the merger to take off was the inability of the two leaders to agree on who would lead the new outfit.

At the burial of former Kenya Sugar Board boss Francis Chahonyo early this month, Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya asked Mudavadi and Wetang’ula to give locals political direction.

Mr Oparanya said the plan by the duo to merge their parties was not the best approach in seeking Luhya unity.

“If you fail to galvanise the region, I will offer myself to lead the people,” said Oparanya.

Mr Muluka however downplayed the intrigues playing out in formation of one party for Western Kenya.

“What is happening is that outsiders are more concerned about the two parties merging more than we are. Of what good end are these people up to?” he posed.

“We have just taken time to strengthen our parties. We are in the right direction.”

Speaking in Kilifi on Monday, Wetang’ula declared NASA a dead outfit, a statement that prompted charged reactions from ODM Secretary General Edwin Wafula who asked Ford Kenya to be bold enough and relinquish all parliamentary and House leadership positions.

Political pundits argue that the bombshell dropped by Wetang’ula could have been deliberate to scuttle another attempt by local leaders to forge a united political front.

Confusion and intrigues

“We are seeing the same script being replayed again in Western politics, the usual confusion and intrigues that will divide people to ensure the vote rich region fails to cast their ballots in one basket,” said political commentator Martin Oloo.

Oloo says Wetang’ula might have made up his mind to work with Deputy President William Ruto.

However, Wetang’ula has dismissed claims that he supports Ruto’s quest to become Kenya’s fifth president. He  affirmed that his name would be on the ballot come 2022.

But the Ford Kenya party leader’s comments have left his outfit exposed, with other NASA MPs now plotting to take over key parliamentary positions currently held by Ford Kenya legislators.

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