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Is it end of the road for Jirongo’s dream?

By - Peter Atsiaya | October 15th 2012

By Peter Atsiaya

Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo’s presidential bid has ran into turbulence again in what analysts say could be the beginning of the end of his big political dreams.

Weeks after he launched a colourful launch of his journey to State House, Jirongo appeared to be hobbling to a dead end after the vehicle expected to deliver him to the big office — the Federal Party of Kenya   threatened to withdraw its support, a move that will legally leave him without a party.

Jirongo’s latest woes are likely to tilt the political landscape in Western province which has fielded a record four presidential aspirants. They include Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi, Trade minister Moses Wetangula and his Justice counterpart Eugene Wamalwa.

Observers say the growing rift between Jirongo and his new party has left his political career hanging on a thread and could portray him as a man who was never a serious contender for the State House job.

If the Party made true its threat, then Jirongo will be left in a political wilderness, having burnt bridges with other Presidential aspirants some of whom he had accused of being State House projects.

Signs that all was not well for Jirongo emerged after the Federal Party of Kenya Chairman Kizito Temba announced they were contemplating withdrawing support for Jirongo.

Temba said they had called for a National Executive Committee meeting and that plans to abandon Jirongo was in the agenda.

The County Weekly was unable to establish the source of the differences between Jirongo and the party chiefs but a source said the Lugari MP may have rushed the deal before they could hammer an acceptable agreement.

Almost aborted

“He was in a hurry to find a party to use in his State House bid. I can remember even his official launch on September 9 almost aborted after a some of the party officials refused to join him  and had to be begged to do so,” said a source familiar with Jirongo’s campaigns.

Other sources say the party may be contemplating throwing its weight behind the TNA Presidential candidate deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta.

Jirongo officially launched his presidential bid on September 9 on the FPK ticket after falling out with Eldoret North MP William Ruto in the United Republican Party.

Curiously, Jirongo had not been invited to the NEC meeting, raising speculation the party may have made a decision to kick him out.

But Jirongo’s campaign team members are reading mischief in the NEC’s decisions. They are seeing external forces in the saga in an alleged attempt to isolate Jirongo because of his earlier attacks on the G-7 alliance.

Promise of money

“NEC members are being summoned to the meeting with the promise of between Sh50,000 and Sh100,000,” Jirongo’s spokesman John Nyongesa was quoted as

Mr Jirongo’s political tribulations have forced him to go underground, raising questions as to whether this is the end of his political career.

Jirongo has been seen as the bitter rival of Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi as the duo have been engaged in unending battle over the control of Western region right from the Kanu days.

The only time Mudavadi played in the same political league with Jirongo was during the 2002 General Elections where they both supported DPM Uhuru Kenyatta as a Kanu presidential candidate and both were thrown into a political dustbin by voters.

After that, they went different directions that saw both of them get a political lifeline by going back to Parliament in the 2007 General Elections.

Jirongo’s political trouble that has seen him swallowed in silence is good news to Mudavadi’s supporters.

He has been seen as the biggest threat to Mudavadi in Luhyaland because of his energetic campaigns, shrewd political strategies and deep pockets.

Deep pockets

Jirongo is known for his deep pockets and is said to made political and financial fortunes while serving as the chairman of the then Youth for Kanu 92 which he started with Mr Ruto to help Kanu win the elections that year.

Jirongo has since then not responded to the new development in his party.

Efforts by The County Weekly to get a comment from him were futile as he failed to respond to our calls on his mobile phone.

Political analysts argue that Jirongo risks being irrelevant politically as his supporters are losing confidence in him.

“I think I would be difficult for Jirongo to rise up from the political limbo he has been put in now,” said Marin Oloo.

Mr Oloo added: “There is no time for him to rebuild himself and if FPK leadership make good their threat to withdraw their support for his presidential bid then he would be finished politically”.

The circumstances

He said Jirongo might in the end decide to come back home and run for any elective seat in Kakamega County.

“Circumstances might force him to forego his presidential bid and contest for either Senator of Governor’s seat in the County,” he predicted.

A political analyst Dr Frank Matanga said Jirongo might be silent because he does not have money to run his political activities.

“Jirongo is among leaders who use money like blood...without money there is no life for them. He is a character well known for buying support and when the money is not there his supporters take off,” he added.

“Give him some millions now and you would see Jirongo running up and down campaigning,” said the Masinde Muliro University lecturer.

“People would eat his money and they would abandon him the way they have done before,” he

Dr Matanga said Jirongo would not be able to match Mudavadi in western region as the Sabatia MP has moved to a different league.

“The recent results of opinion polls where Jirongo never featured shows that the difference between him and Mudavadi is like day and night,” he added.

But civic leaders from Lugari County Council have come to the defense of Jirongo noting that he is down but not out.

Led by councillors Musa Makhabila and David Amaswache they said that those ruling Jirongo out would be in for a rude shock when he makes a political comeback.

“Jirongo has issues with his party just like what other presidential aspirants went through but soon he would get over them and step up his campaigns,” said Makhabila.

Amaswache noted that they supported Jirongo adding that he was the only courageous and aggressive presidential aspirant from the region.

Hard tackles

Jirongo is known for his hard tackles on his opponents.  Earlier this year, he attacked Ruto during a radio talk show, branding him a dictator, forcing the Eldoret North MP to call the same radio station to defend him. They were at that time both in URP.

Mr Jirongo also claimed that URP was among six political parties being used by influential politicians to influence the outcome of the Kibaki succession race.

He claimed Mudavadi’s United Democratic Front Party (UDF) was among the party being used to divide certain communities ahead of the elections.

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