The political equation is bound to change in Luhya politics following the recent demise of two MPs from the region. Matungu MP Justus Murunga of ANC died on November 14 as he was being rushed to St Mary’s Hospital in Mumias while Kabuchai MP James Lusweti of Ford-K died after a long illness in Nairobi.
While attending Murunga’s burial service at Makunda Primary School grounds in Matungu, Kakamega county, the two Luhya leaders emphasized the urge for the elusive unity. Divisions among leaders from the community have made the region provide a swing vote in general elections. It is only in the 2017 general elections that Mudavadi and Wetangula joined hands to form Nasa together with Raila Odinga. Mudavadi and Wetangula at one time talked of joining the two parties to form one entity. The move came a cropper.
Speaking during the burial of the Matungu MP last week, Lugari MP and ANC deputy chairman Ayub Savula prevailed upon other political leaders to let the party’s candidate recapture the seat in the coming by-election. In the unity of purpose, ANC will also reciprocate by not fielding a candidate in Kabuchai. Analysts say the ANC and Ford-K leaders should support one candidate for the seats during the by-elections likely to be held on the same day.
Lusweti was a staunch supporter of Wetangula even during his trying moments when it was claimed outside forces were behind a move by Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi to hijack Ford-K leadership. On the other hand, Mudavadi was deserted by Murunga who joined William Ruto. Mudavadi and Wetangula united during Murunga’s funeral and challenged Ruto to support the BBI claiming the document is good for the country, instead of sitting on the fence.
Whereas in Kabuchai it will be easy for Ford-K to recapture the seat, in Matungu, Mudavadi will have sleepless nights as he schemes to counter the ODM plot. Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya is to coordinate the Matungu by-election facing Ben Washiali and Rashid Echesa on the Ruto Jubilee side. But last week Ruto camp in Luhya politics were blaming Cotu boss Francis Atwoli for luring Malava MP Malulu Injendi to back BBI and holding talks with ODM leader Raila Odinga.
Injendi was to later accompany Kakamega Oparanya to Orange House where they held a meeting with Raila. “I was pleased to receive Malava MP Malulu Injendi who informed me that he has had a change of heart and has decided to join the team promoting the BBI initiative. He was accompanied by Governor Oparanya. Karibu sana Malulu,” Raila wrote. While explaining his shift, Injendi stated that he made the decision following recent amendments made to the document. “This is after noticing that the amendments that have been made and revealed during the launch of the signature collection are good for the people of Malava and Kenyans as a whole,” he added.