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One Kenya Alliance earns a huge boost after mini poll wins

POLITICS
By Jacob Ng'etich | March 21st 2021

 

From left- Ford Kenya party leader Moses Wetangula, KANU Chairman Gideon Moi, Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka, and ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Wiper’s victory in the just-concluded Machakos senatorial by-election has raised the momentum for the emerging alliance between former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and three other top politicians.

The outfit dubbed One Kenya Alliance’ brings together Kalonzo, Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi, Kanu Chairman Gideon Moi and Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula.

The leaders have been campaigning in recent by-elections in which they won four seats. 

In the March 4 mini polls, the alliance won the seats in Matungu and Kabuchai constituencies through ANC and Ford Kenya, respectively, and Kitise/Kithuku Ward seat in Makueni County, which went to a Wiper candidate.

On Thursday, Wiper candidate Agnes Kavindu garnered 104,352 votes against her strongest challenger, Urbanus Ngengele’s 19,726 votes.

Ngengele was the flag bearer for United Democratic Alliance (UDA) associated with Deputy President William Ruto.

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Mudavadi, Kalonzo, Gideon and Wetang’ula have partnered ahead of next year’s General Election and Wiper’s Thursday victory was another badge of honour to the team.

The Machakos Senate seat has bolstered Kalonzo’s influence and cemented his position as the undisputed kingpin in the two million voter-rich Lower Eastern region.

In the Matungu and Kabuchai victories, Mudavadi proved he was a force to reckon with in Western and he seems to have tilted the political flow from ODM leader Raila Odinga.

Mudavadi yesterday welcomed Wiper’s victory in Machakos and said it demonstrated the confidence people now have in their alliance.

“We are making progress confidently and reliably. We will take every victory with humility and cement our support in the country, as this is the alliance that will form the next government after the 2022 General Election,” he said.

The One Kenya Alliance’s emergence follows a fallout between Raila and his National Super Alliance (Nasa) principals Mudavadi, Kalonzo and Wetang’ula.

The four leaders came together under Nasa in 2017 to challenge President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election.

But the fallout, which started showing signs after Raila’s Handshake with Uhuru, was triggered last month by demands by Kalonzo, Mudavadi and Wetang’ula that it was time for the ODM leader to back one of them in next year’s polls.

Raila hit out at the three, calling them cowards for abandoning him at the hour of need during his 2018 swearing-in as the people’s president.

“When we were going for the swearing-in in Nairobi they refused. They switched off their phones and were shivering in fear. They now want me to give them the mantle. I won’t give them because they demonstrated their cowardice,” he said a month ago.

Use and dump

In quick successions, Kalonzo, Mudavadi and Wetang’ula tore into Raila, claiming the opposition leader had perfected the art of use and dump.

Wetang’ula termed Raila an ungrateful person who disrespected people who sacrificed for him during the Cord and Nasa presidential stabs.

“Raila has the tendency of using and dumping other leaders and this time we are not with him. We don’t expect such insults from a leader that we have sacrificed a lot for. He has no respect for Luhya leaders and yet our community has supported him for over 15 years,” said the Bungoma senator.

He said Raila was insincere and forgetful to unleash his political soldiers to peddle political falsehoods against other Nasa partners and warned that the ODM camp will suffer serious political wounds in the 2022 polls.

Kalonzo, on the other hand, accused Raila of always betraying his political allies in every election cycle in what has occasioned his isolation by his Nasa partners.

“We state that dishonesty, insatiable greed for power, and disrespect for political partnerships are not the hallmarks of a good leader. They are characteristics of an unreasonable and even a dangerous leader,” the leaders said in a statement.

Mudavadi said Raila had no right to deny others their right to demand a political debt he owed them.

“Raila knows he duped colleagues into backing him in Nasa in 2017 under the false pretense that, win or lose, he wouldn’t offer himself as a candidate. Perhaps the only cowardice in them is allowing Raila to lie to them,” Mudavadi said.

The open artillery among the trio and Raila seemed to have fired up Mudavadi, Kalonzo, Gideon and Wetang’ula to form an alliance that is slowly becoming a formidable force.

Party leaders Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), ANC’s Musalia Mudavadi, Kanu chairman Gideon Moi and Ford Kenya Moses Wetangula in Machakos. [Dennis Kavisu, Standard]

Secure their backyards

Now the One Kenya Alliance leaders are moving to secure their backyards as a strategy to make it strong.

Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala said they had sealed the Western region under Mudavadi and Wetang’ula.

“We are zoning off the region between the two parties. We are likely to have Musalia as our presidential candidate though these are ongoing talks,” he said.

Malala said they were emboldened by the Matungu and Kabuchai wins, and now ANC and Ford-K are strategising to lock ODM, UDA, Jubilee and other parties out of the vote-rich region.

The region is dominated by Kenya’s second largest community in terms of population, with their numerical strength, if united, giving its leaders a chance to sit at the negotiating table.

Ford-K Secretary General Chris Wamalwa said the Mudavadi/Wetang’ula union is a reflection of what will happen in 2022.

Before the Machakos by-election, Kathiani MP Robert Mbui said Wiper was a strong party in Lower Eastern and would use the mini poll to send a strong message.

He said Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua sensed defeat and decided to save face, prompting Maendeleo Chap Chap candidate Mutua Katuku to drop off.

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