By Evans Kura
Ford Kenya Party Leader Moses Wetangula is under siege in a fluidy western Kenya that’s already been hit by election fever months ahead of the 2017 polls. To stay afloat; he is flexing his weary muscles.
With less than 10 MPs and senators combined; no governor on his ticket and an inconsequential tally of MCAs, Wetangula’s stature as a “CORD Principal” has always been a matter of conjecture. Yet, his is also a rare case of bringing too little yet getting so much.
He is the Senate Minority Leader, third in rank after Speaker of Senate and Leader of Majority. He occupies this esteemed position courtesy of the CORD Mou that was premised on winning the 2013 polls and forming government. He was to be the third ranking leader of a triumphant CORD. This didn’t happen. CORD ‘lost’, but Wetangula didn’t.
Apart from benefitting in Senate; Wetangula has also been the costliest CORD principal to keep politically afloat. A successful by-election almost toppled him. His co-principals Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka had to literally “bomb” his County of Bungoma to ensure his re-election. And even after this; a highly meritorious case which dragged up to the Supreme Court found him culpable of an electoral offence.
Short-circuited, his political future was saved, once again, by a battery of high profile lawyers retained by ODM. He is yet to thank many of those lawyers.
At a time when CORD had decided to go full blown on IEBC, it is the ‘little Wetangula matter’ that kept the coalition from going on the offensive. To save Wetangula; CORD found itself in the awkward position where it had to pander to IEBC, albeit grudgingly.
In terms of numbers, despite his enhanced status as a “CORD Principal”; his Bungoma backyard delivered the least number of votes to CORD coalition in 2013 in the three western counties. It also gave CORD opponents -principally Jubilee – the highest number of votes in Western Kenya.
To rub it home; Bungoma elected a Jubilee allied governor! How did that happen? Wetangula has really never been put to task about it. The fact is; he was a lightweight. He still is.
Even more egregious; Bungoma also registered the least new voters in the just concluded voter registration exercise. This was courtesy of the ODM grassroots voter mobilization drive in the county. He never appeared in Bungoma throughout the month long exercise.
But as is usual of those who give so little and get so much; Wetangula has always expected to be treated specially. He always wants to receive, not to give. He awaits others to do the heavy lifting; then demand the spoils. At a recent CORD retreat; sources reveal how he shocked his fellow principals and participants by demanding to be declared the only viable winning candidate on a CORD ticket; and supported unequivocally through it.
However; the two CORD principals are said to be fed up. This past week; as he ranted, no phone call to soothe him went through. And none, as I have heard, is expected anytime soon.