Ruto steps in to cool Malalah, Khalwale feud in Kakamega
Deputy President William Ruto is spear-heading efforts to reconcile Kakamega senator Cleophas Malalah and his predecessor Boni Khalwale following a fallout.
The duo is engaged in a bitter fight following claims they were secretly supporting each other’s opponents.
Their differences came to the fore last week when Khalwale was attacked by irate Malalah supporters after he declined to expressly voice his support for the senator’s bid to succeed Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya.
Malalah’s supporters were irked after Khalwale, who is seeking to reclaim the senate seat he held between 2013 and 2017, asked crowds to decide their choice for governor.
Malalah is the ANC candidate while Khalwale belongs to UDA, both affiliates of Kenya Kwanza Alliance of led by Ruto.
Impeccable sources told the People Daily yesterday that Ruto had summoned the duo to Nairobi last evening for a truce.
“The Deputy President is not happy. He has decided to step in and offer a solution,” said Benard Lukulu, the UDA candidate for Idakho North MCA seat in Ikolomani.
Night long meeting
Malalah is said to have held a night-long meeting with his supporters who included Kenya Kwanza candidates eyeing various seats in Kakamega at his Milimani residence on Wednesday night during which he expressed his frustrations in working with the former senator.
Khalwale is said to be supporting former Kenya Electricity Transmission Company CEO Fernandes Barasa for the governorship while Malalah is allegedly backing Brian Lishenga for senate.
Barasa and Lishenga are ODM candidates under Azimio-One Kenya Alliance.
“Both Barasa and Malalah are ours and, thus, you should decide on your own who to vote for as governor. This is a win-win situation,”Khalwale told public rallies in Matungu constituency in the presence of the senator.
The remarks drew ire from Malalah’s supporters who attacked Khalwale and pelted his car with stones.
A section of politicians and analysts had varied views when they spoke to the People Daily yesterday.
“The differences between Khalwale and Malalah have existed since the decision to force the former cede his bid for governorship in favour of the latter,” said Desterio Okumu, a political commentator from the county.
He added: “And I do not foresee any honest truce because the duo do not share any political chemistry. They have just been forced into this relationship.”
But former Cabinet Minister Amukowa Anangwe disagreed saying there was no cause for alarm.
Anangwe said such spats are common in politics and expressed optimism that a ceasefire would be reached.
“These are common occurrences in politics and I do not foresee any trouble. Both Khalwale and Malalah are ambitious politicians. But I am sure they will agree to work together,” he said.
Malalah and Khalwale are also backing different candidates at the constituency and Ward levels.
For instance, Khalwale has declined to publicly endorse businessmen Vincent Mukhono and Khamis Butichi, who are the UDA and ANC candidates in his Ikolomani home-turf.
Neither does Malalah. Both are said to be secretly backing area MP Benard Shinali who is allied to ODM of Azimio.
“Shinali, Mukhono and Butichi are all our sons. We should, thus, let them compete,” he told a public rally at Shimanyiro market in the constituency.
Malalah, who was present, did not also declare his support for any of the Kenya Kwanza candidates.