Mudavadi, Wetang’ula hang by a thread as coups rock parties

Friday, June 12th, 2020 00:00 | By
ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi (seated centre) and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula (second left) at a press conference where they condemned attempts to take over their parties. Photo/PD/John Ochieng

Noah Cheploen @cheploennoah

The strong waves sweeping across the political arena seem to have settled in the Western Kenya region where ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula are fighting to save their parties from takeover.  

While the turbulent waves started with Jubilee Party in April, it is now threatening to consume the region’s top two leaders with Wetang’ula’s position as Ford Kenya leader hanging by a thread after Registrar of Political Parties gazetted the names of new office bearers. 

In a gazette notice dated June 8, the Registrar, Ann Nderitu, notified members of the public of the change of guard in one of Kenya’s oldest political parties.  

But Wetang’ula has moved to court to stop Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi and his Tongaren counterpart Eseli Simiyu from taking over as party leader and secretary general respectively. 

In an application at the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal, Wetang’ula is seeking orders to stop Nderitu from recognising the two as the new office bearers blaming external forces for his woes.

 “Anybody who wants to run for a seat in Ford Kenya should file his papers…let’s meet at Bomas.

I have no doubt delegates will still give me a chance to run this party,” Wetang’ula told the press outside the party offices in Nairobi immediately after the Wamunyinyi faction declared themselves the new party leaders. 

He described Simiyu’s move to dethrone him as shocking.

“I am surprised because he is my friend and we grew up together,” he said. 

But, Simiyu has accused him of tainting the party’s image, failing to inspire the party and generally being a lone ranger and dictatorial. 

Voice of reason

Often regarded as the gentleman of Kenya’s politics because of his dovish demeanour, Mudavadi has also found himself in a similar situation with plans afoot to kick him out of the party. 

On Tuesday, ANC secretary general, Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi, said all positions in the party fall vacant in one week’s time saying Mudavadi’s five-year term had come to an end. 

Mudavadi, who is trying to cut a niche for himself as the voice of reason in the country’s politics, has blamed Nasa co-principal Raila Odinga and Cotu secretary general Francis Atwoli for destabilising the two parties for selfish reasons. 

 “The mischief has been escalated at a number of meetings led by the leader of a Nasa member party, whose objective is to destroy and dominate everyone.

In this, they are aided by secretary general of Central Organisation of Trade Unions,”he said.

On May 29, Atwoli hosted several Luhya leaders led by Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya  at his Kajiado home where the elusive Luhya unity was discussed.

Party coups

And on Monday, ANC deputy party leader Ayub Savula dismissed claims that he was part of the coup-plotters and pointed an accusing finger at Raila, saying he was the one destabilising parties.  

Savula claimed that Mudavadi was being fought over suspicions that he was talking behind the scenes with Deputy President William Ruto.

Narc Kenya party leader Martha Karua has condemned the ongoing “coups” terming them a threat to democracy. 

“The ‘ouster’ of Wetang’ula two days after a publicised meeting of Western Kenya leaders organised by a unionist widely seen as a government mouthpiece does not augur well for the rule of law and democracy,” she said in a tweet.

It is believed the pre-election coalition agreement that brought together ODM, Wiper, ANC and Ford Kenya under Nasa is the reason behind the changes being witnessed in some political parties.

Wentag’ula and Mudavadi allegedly refused to play ball in the plan to form a unity government, thus slowing down President Uhuru Kenyatta’s planned Cabinet reshuffle.

Reports indicate that Uhuru is piecing together a new administration in the spirit of the March 9, 2018 Handshake with Raila. 

The President has hinted on various occasions that he is planning to reorganise his government by consulting and bringing leaders of all parties on board. 

Last month, Jubilee signed a post-election agreement with Baringo senator Gideon Moi-led Kanu, which will see the two parties work together. 

The first beneficiary of this agreement was the elevation of West Pokot Senator Samuel Poghisio as the Leader of Majority in the Senate replacing Kipchumba Murkomen of Elgeyo Marakwet. 

Chama Cha Mashinani party leader, the former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto, has also signed a cooperation agreement with Jubilee. 

The political upheavals in Western Kenya has coincided with a ruthless purge targeting allies of DP Ruto in government. 

Jubilee purge

Already, key allies such Murkomen and Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki have lost their positions of Leader of Majority and Deputy Speaker, respectively.

Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika was also replaced as Majority Whip by Murang’a senator Irungu Kang’ata who took over the job with zeal, removing several other allies of Ruto from various committees. 

In the National Assembly, Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali was removed as Majority Chief Whip while Cecily Mbarire (Nominated) was been kicked out of position of Deputy Whip. 

Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa—another ally of Ruto—lost his position as deputy Minority Whip in the National Assembly in changes announced by Minority Leader John Mbadi. 

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