Ikolomani winner will change face of politics in Western Province

By Allan Kisia

The outcome of Ikolomani parliamentary by-election will certainly change the face of politics in Western Province.

A win for either Bernard Shinali (ODM) or Bonny Khalwale (New Ford Kenya) will have political implications for the region.

Victory for Shinali will be a boost for ODM and Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi, who is the senior-most politician in the region.

Mudavadi is ODM deputy party leader and had pitched tent in the constituency to spearhead campaigns in support of Shinali.

ODM MPs put up spirited campaigns to grab a seat that was not theirs in the first place.

Khalwale, also known as the bullfighter, is the immediate former MP and had won the seat in 2007 on a New Ford Kenya ticket.

Kakamega County had Khalwale and Housing Minister Soita Shitanda as New Ford Kenya MPs. The county, the second largest in the country with nine constituencies, has six ODM MPs and one KADDU legislator.

In the entire province, ODM had a total of 19 MPs out of the 24 constituencies. While campaigning, ODM legislators vowed to grab one more seat in the region.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who is also ODM party leader, also said a win in Ikolomani would be a boost for them.

The Premier used the fact to urge people to vote for them in Ikolomani and in 2012. He told locals to support a party, which has the majority of MPs in Parliament.

Shinali wondered why people would rally behind a party with only one MP in Parliament.

A win for Khalwale will definitely be a boost for New Ford Kenya and his career in politics in the future.

New Ford Kenya announced that it will field a presidential candidate, Saboti MP Eugene Wamalwa.

While campaigning for Khalwale, Shitanda said New Ford Kenya would get more support in 2012 if it wins the Ikolomani by-elections.

Shitanda, who is New Ford Kenya party leader, said the road to State House would begin in Ikolomani.

The bullfighter has announced that he will be going for the post of Senator in Kakamega County in the next general elections.

Soon after casting his vote, Khalwale said he must win the by-election to advance his political career.

"This election will act as the breaking ground for bigger things to come in 2012," he added.

Up until the nullification of his re-election as the MP for Ikolomani in February, Khalwale was the chairman of the powerful Public Accounts Committee.

The committee has acted as the official opposition in the absence of a real one following the formation of the coalition Government.

Khalwale is a seasoned politician and a former medical officer. He first clinched the Ikolomani seat in 2002 on a Ford Kenya ticket, riding on the Narc wave that swept independence party Kanu from power.

He is remembered for putting former Agriculture Minister William Ruto on the spot over the maize scandal.

The country is said to have lost more than Sh800 million to briefcase millers and unscrupulous businessmen.

Khalwale is best remembered as far as fighting corruption is concerned when he moved a motion to censure former Finance minister Amos Kimunya over the controversial sale of Grand Regency hotel, renamed Laico Regency.

The phrase "Kimunya must go" stood out in his quest to oust the former Finance Minister.

He however denied having a personal agenda and said it was his passion to fight corruption that drove him.

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