Kenya: ANC, Ford Kenya Unite for Kabuchai, Matungu Polls

22 January 2021

Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi and his Ford Kenya counterpart Moses Wetang'ula have united in efforts to consolidate the Western region into one voting bloc that will produce one presidential candidate in 2022.

They intend to use the by-elections in Matungu and Kabuchai constituencies as a springboard for regional unity.

The upcoming by-elections have been touted as the toughest political battle in recent times, and a rehearsal of the 2022 presidential contest pitting ODM leader Raila Odinga, ANC's Mudavadi and Deputy President William Ruto, among others.

The two parties have partnered and fielded one candidate in Kabuchai and another in Matungu, with Ford Kenya supporting ANC's candidate Peter Oscar Nabulindo for the Matungu seat, while Amani Party is supporting Joseph Majimbo Kalasinga's candidature in Kabuchai.

"This is the unity team in these by-elections. Anyone outside the unity of ANC and Ford Kenya is a traitor, enemy, and a project against the Mulembe nation," declared Mr Mudavadi.

"We won't allow other people to come in this region and dismantle our resolve and unity through the by-elections," he added.

Political matrix

The move seems to have complicated the political matrix in the two mini-polls, provoking the newly-formed Ruto-linked United Democratic Alliance (UDA) to field candidates in both Kabuchai and Matungu in what observers see as a bid by the DP to test his popularity in the region.

"It is a deliberate statement to the people of Mulembe Nation and Kenya at large that this region is no longer available for political experiments," Mr Wetang'ula. "My brother Mudavadi and I have agreed there are no soft gloves for our community detractors any more. You are either for Mulembe or against it.

"The candidates against us are projects of outsiders sponsored to break our unity resolve. They will not succeed," he stated.

The two spoke as Mr Mudavadi rubbished the Hustler Movement moves, dismissing their declaration that it will be a repeat of their performance of Msambweni, where an independent Ruto-backed candidate won.

"Matungu is not Msambweni. Kabuchai is not Msambweni. The outcome of these two by-elections will shock the world. Kenyans will know the truth that this region has its unique needs and our people are not the kind who follow propaganda and tokenism," the ANC leader said.

Western Kenya bloc

The bid by Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang'ula to forge a united front to solidify the Western Kenya bloc appears to have unsettled the DP's troops on the ground.

In Matungu, UDA troops, led by former Senator Boni Khalwale, former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa and Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali are bringing together aspirants who had declared they would run as independent candidates to back Mr Alex Lanya.

The Ruto team has vowed it will produce the 'first-borns' of the Hustler Movement by producing a first MP for the newly-formed political party in the by-elections.

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