DAP-K debacle: Why Wetangula has the last laugh

Eseli Simiyu (Left) MP Tongaren with Hon. Wafula Wamunyinyi (Right) MP Kanduyi. They were both defeated by Ford-K candidates in the August 9, 2022, General Election. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Democratic Action Party of Kenya (DAP-K) party leader Wafula Wamunyinyi and Secretary General Eseli Simiyu paid a heavy price for rebelling against Ford-Kenya leader Moses Wetang'ula after losing their seats.

Wamunyinyi lost his Kanduyi parliamentary seat to John Makali of Ford-K who garnered 32,029 against the incumbent's 20,270 votes.

In Tongaren, Dr Eseli, who managed 9,802 votes, was edged out by Ford-K's John Chikati, who garnered 20,108 votes.

The two fell out with Wetang'ula after staging a botched coup in Ford-K in May 2020. It appears Wetang'ula made good his threat to teach them a lesson.

But the party managed to capture three key seats in Western, one of which, however, was previously held by ODM, a fellow partner in Azimio.

DAP-K's Dick Maungu floored ODM's Chris Omulele to clinch the Luanda seat in Vihiga County.

The party also won in Mumias East and Bumula in Kakamega and Bungoma counties respectively. Jack Wanami Wamboka was declared the winner in Bumula after he garnered 20,138 votes against UDA's Mwambu Mabonga's 18179 votes.

In Mumias East, the party's candidate Peter Salasya emerged the winner.

Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, who is DAP-K patron, was in Luanda, Bumula and Mumias East to congratulate the winners. According to Wamalwa, the party leadership was happy with the outcome although he expected it to perform much better.

Mixed reactions greeted the launch of DAP-K in June 2021. The party was launched by close allies of Mr Wamalwa, raising eyebrows among politicians from Western.

Wetang'ula and ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi were among the first leaders to dismiss DAP-K's entry into the region politics. They saw the outfit as a wide scheme to slow down their parties in the region.

In December 2021, Deputy President William Ruto claimed that DAP-K was part of a scheme by ODM leader Raila Odinga to destabilise the two parties.

Ruto sensationally claimed that the party was formed with intention of challenging the political dominance of Mudavadi and Wetang'ula in the region and urged residents to reject it.

At the time, Ruto was busy wooing the two politicians to join his political side, which they eventually agreed to.

Wamalwa, who had earlier denied knowledge of the party activities, played an instrumental role at its launch in Nairobi and has been actively involved in the running and management of the party affairs.

Political analyst Barrack Muluka maintains that Dr Eseli and Wamunyinyi committed political suicide by accepting to be used by external forces to rock Ford K party from within.

"I said DAP-K would not fly and warned that the duo would be punished by the voters, it came to pass," argued Muluka, who is a strategic communications adviser.

"I told them that they had signed their political death warrant, it was obvious they had dug their own grave, now they have nowhere to hide their faces after being used to split Western and dumped," said Muluka.

According to him, DAP-K will die a natural death despite having bagged three parliamentary seats.

"It was meant to cause confusion in Western and has no more use to those who created it," said Muluka.

But Wamalwa said DAP-K is a younger party with huge prospects.

"I am happy because Mumias East MP-elect Peter Salasya is an equally young and promising leader," said the CS.

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