The Democratic Action Party of Kenya (DAP-K) is making inroads in Western Kenya two months after it was formed.
Despite being the new kid on the block, DAP-K is already a political thorn in the flesh of Moses Wetang’ula’s Ford Kenya and Amani National Congress of Musalia Mudavadi.
The new outfit is headed by Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi, with Kimilili’s Eseli Simiyu as Secretary General. Observers say the party could be seeking to cut Wetang’ula to size in Bungoma and Trans Nzoia counties, as it targets Mudavadi in Kakamega and Vihiga.
For the last one month, the party has received defectors from Ford Kenya and ANC in what is widely seen to have dented the two outfits.
ANC MPs led by Ayub Savula (Lugari), Peter Nabulindo (Matungu), Oku Kaunya (Teso North) and several ward reps have defected to DAP-K. Former National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende, who had joined ANC, also defected to DAP-K.
Other ANC MPs who decamped to ODM are Titus Khamala (Lurambi), Tindi Mwale (Butere), Godfrey Osotsi (Nominated) and Aseka Miradi of Khwisero.
Mudavadi remains with MPs John Bunyasi (Nambale), Ernest Kagesi (Vihiga), Alfred Agoi (Sabatia), Omboko Milemba (Emuhaya), Beatrice Adagala (Vihiga Women Rep) and Senator George Khaniri (Vihiga) in his fold.
“The defections could be geared towards creating a perception that ANC and Ford Kenya are dead in the region. They will might no impact in the August 9 polls,” said Daniel Nyangweso, a political analyst.
Nyangweso says DAP-K is a creation of Defense Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa and his allies with the aim of galvanising votes for ODM leader Raila Odinga.
The analyst says the party was formed after a failed bid to dislodge Wetang’ula from the Ford-Kenya leadership.
In Bungoma, Wamunyinyi and Eseli were elected on Ford Kenya tickets. Wetang’ula now remains with Catherine Wambilianga (Bungoma Women Rep) and Kabuchai MP Majimbo Kalasinga.
Trans Nzoia Women Rep Janet Nang’abo, who was elected on Jubilee Party ticket, has also decamped to DAP-K and former Rift Valley Regional Commissioner, George Natembeya, will contesting Trans Nzoia governorship on the party’s ticket.
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“DAP- K is a new broom sweeping across Western and by 2027, we shall have taken over control of the entire region,” said Wamunyinyi.
The Kanduyi lawmaker said the party would sponsor governor, senator, woman rep, MP and ward rep candidates.
Wamunyinyi said they agreed to support Raila under the Azimio la Umoja movement “because he is a sure bet in the race”. “This is a two-horse race. It is either you are with Deputy President William Ruto or Raila. We are backing Raila because he fought for the second liberation and he will fight for economic revolution and protect the country’s assets,” argued Wamunyinyi.
Wamalwa earlier said DAP-K was formed to relieve the Western electorate from the bondage of poverty and unemployment. Wamalwa believes the new party has the interests of the people at heart.
Earlier, Wetang’ula claimed Wamalwa was using DAP-K to negotiate for positions in government.
Wetang’ula avers that DAP-K will not have any footing in the region after elections, addi than if Wamalwa had support in the region, he should have come out to seek a political seat in Bungoma or Trans Nzoia.
“Let him (Wamalwa) face me. We helped him become MP in 2007 through campaigns and money and after winning the seat, he started fighting me,” said Wetang’ula.
Prof Amukoa Anangwe, a political analyst, said DAP-K’s goal was to create confusion in the Bukusu voting bloc of Bungoma, Trans Nzoia and surrounding areas to deny Ruto and Mudavadi votes in favour of Raila.
“DAP-K is just a Trojan horse for Raila given that it is an initiative by Wamalwa whose political territory has always revolved around the Bukusu vote,” said Anangwe.
He, however, believes the new twist may work in Mudavadi and Wetang’ula’s favour if perception is created among voters that the new outfit and its owners are surrogates of an external force. He warns that the political value of DAP-K could diminish if not properly packaged across the region and the party may have difficulties taking off.
Ford Kenya’s degeneration started after the fallout between former chairman Musikari Kombo and former Trade Minister Mukhisa Kituyi.
Kombo later fell out with Soita Shitanda and Bonny Khalwale who formed the defunct New Ford Kenya party, later taken over by Wamalawa.