Details of the secret plot to oust Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang'ula have emerged.
Piled up accusations against the Bungoma senator, indecisiveness on political trajectory for the Lion party and President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga's impatience with him combined to form a lethal dose against him.
By the time the 57 people - 45 of them delegates - convened at a city hotel on Monday to ratify the decision, the die had already been cast in night meeting that preceded the day.
The team had resolved to pull a fast one on Wetang'ula who was reportedly planning a similar coup against Tongaren MP Eseli Simiyu, the secretary general of the party.
At the heart of the charges were up to 15 complaints dating back to 2018 relating to conduct of nominations, sharing of election spoils, facilitation of party operations and inter-personal relations between party officials.
Unmet demands, sour relationship with elected governors, disillusioned followers, association with deputy president William Ruto and individual ambitions of suppressed party cadre also added fuel to the fire against Wetang'ula.
“Wetang'ula had planned to call a NEC meeting this week to suspend Eseli and the Tongaren MP got wind and acted fast to call the meeting and endorse the changes. There have been simmering issues,” said a source who spoke in confidence.
But according to Wetang'ula's troops led by Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa, all his problems begin and end with Raila. Dr Wamalwa gave a chronology of events that led to the Monday meeting and which depicted Raila as pulling strings in the background.
“First Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa and Eseli went to see Raila claiming they had gone to lobby for government jobs and we wondered why a CS would seek for government jobs from an Opposition leader,” he said.
The next day, Wamalwa was de-whipped from the National Assembly deputy minority seat and his position given to Eseli.
Immediately after, Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli hosted some leaders and it was there where it was agreed that Wetang'ula be removed.
“Things moved very fast. Within three days of scheming, they convinced Eseli and Wafula Wamunyinyi to purport they have taken over the leadership of the party. These are surrogates only playing to some higher power,” said Wamalwa.
Wetangula, Bungoma Woman Representative Catherine Wambilyanga, and MPs Vincent Kemosi (West Mugirango), Ferdinand Wanyonyi (Kwanza) and Nasri Ibrahim (Nominated) have been lukewarm in the support of Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) supported by President Kenyatta and Raila.
Last year when the BBI caravan was heading to Western, the six legislators skipped a leaders' meeting at Nzoia, which was to plan for the rally in Bukhungu Stadium.
“When the country is planning on how to reshape itself, Wetang'ula has been missing at the table. Instead he has been destabilising governors and MCAs in Trans Nzoia and Bungoma counties,” said Eseli.
Wamalwa said the BBI reason used against Wetang'ula was frivolous, given that he had attended nearly all the rallies apart from the one in Kisii, which had been billed as a Nyanza only affair.
“Wetang'ula was in Kakamega, Mombasa, Meru rallies and spoke passionately about bringing the country together. How can some political puppets claim otherwise? Kenyans are seeing through their lies,” he said.
He said the other allegations that Wetang'ula had not helped the party were misleading. The MP said when Wetang'ula took over the party, only Eseli was the MP on its ticket, but now there is a total of 16, 86 MCAs and two governors in Bungoma and Trans Nzoia counties.
When contacted, Eseli said some members felt there was lack of leadership, prompting the change.
“I have not heard that he wanted to call a NEC meeting to oust me. But those are the machinations we are talking about. He has been running rough shod over everyone in the party and interfering with governors,” he said.
Wamunyinyi said they have complied with all the requirements and exuded confidence that Registrar of Political Parties Ann Nderitu will approve the changes and recognise the new leadership.
And as Ford Kenya wrangles festered, elders from Teso community unanimously endorsed Wamalwa and Oparanya as the new spokesmen of Western region.
[Ignatius Odanga, Nathan Ochunge, Rawlings Otieno and Jacob Ng’etich]