Defections have rocked Amani National Congress (ANC) of Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang'ula’s Ford Kenya, undermining their influence in Western ahead of the August 9 polls.
Several MPs and Members of County Assembly have aligned themselves with ODM leader Raila Odinga amid a new political wave by the Azimio La Umoja. Other leaders elected on the two parties are also gravitating towards Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA).
The defections have exposed the two leaders, who have declared interest to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta. Matungu MP Oscar Nabulindo and Olago Aluoch (Kisumu West) are the latest to join the growing list of defectors from ANC and Ford Kenya, respectively.
In ANC, Mudavadi has so far lost Nabulindo, deputy party leader Ayub Savula (Lugari), Godfrey Osotsi (Nominated), Oku Kaunya (Teso North) and Christopher Aseka (Khwisero).
Nabulindo said he was under pressure from his constituents to join ‘a winning team’ that will form the next government. “My people want me to be in government and not opposition so that I can bring them development projects,” he told The standard.
The politicians have declared support for Azimio La Umoja movement led by Raila. Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala has been flirting with Ruto’s UDA and could be on his way out. He recently hosted the DP in Mumias and attended UDA rally in Eldoret last weekend.
Pundits now believe that Mudavadi’s efforts to protect the over two million votes in the region are failing. Political analyst and former Mudavadi confidant Barrack Muluka said the ANC leader has been slow in making decisions and taking advantage of available opportunities to grow his political network and influence.
He said Mudavadi could watch as the region slips away because he left a vacuum after he was crowned as Western spokesperson by elders on December 31, 2016 at Bukhungu stadium.
“He (Mudavadi) is in an awkward situation as a result of his failure to act fast and align with the changing political tide. Whatever his party National Delegates Conference decides on January 23 could make or destroy him politically,” avers Emmanuela Mulaa.
Ms Mulaa, from the University of Nairobi, argues that recent defections in ANC could have weakened Mudavadi. According to her, the former Vice President could have an uphill task convincing co-principals at One Kenya Alliance to support his presidential bid given the shifting ground.
In Ford Kenya, Wetang'ula has lost Aluoch, Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati, Eseli Simiyu (Tongaren), Richard Onyonka (Kitutu Chache South) and Wafula Wamunyinyi (Kanduyi).