By Moses Shitsama
Did Eugene Wamalwa settle for The Nairobi Governor’s Jubilee ticket in the deal where his New Ford Kenya Party became the first to fold into the Jubilee Party? The calls by a section of power brokers,MCA’s and other speakers at a fundraiser on 17th July 2016 at Assumption High School in Embakasi East indicate so. Speaker after speaker in a clearly choreographed script called on Eugene Wamalwa to declare his interest for the seat. It is now clear That both Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto have endorsed this move. Embakasi was Eugene’s first in many events he is to have in the city.
It was Westlands MP, Tim Wanyonyi, whose message was most poignant. Tim Wanyonyi is an ODM MP, a Bukusu, brother to Senator Moses Wetangula and is said to harbour gubernatorial ambitions as well. His presence alone was a message of solidarity that the Luhya community would be in step with whatever ambition one of their son’s would have.
After cautioning Eugene on the risks involved in city politics and declaring that the Luhya’s in Nairobi are in CORD, Tim Wanyonyi nevertheless welcomed Eugene to city politics. It was a veiled message with several meanings and intentions. It is clear Tim came out to support a fellow Luhya leader and showed that the Luhya community would do so to the end despite of party affiliations. Tim Wanyonyi is the only elected Luhya leader in Nairobi.
It is also possible that Tim was coming out early in support of Eugene to avert the rumoured entry of Moses Wetangula into the Nairobi race. This unfounded rumour is being spread by Jubilee teams afraid of Eugene’s entry into the city. It is ridiculous to imagine that Kidero, ODM’s chief financier, would leave the ticket for anybody else or that both Raila and the Luo community would countenance something of the sort. It is a naive understanding of politics.
Eugene’s entry into Nairobi as Jubilee’s third principal will hugely turn things around for the coalition that has so far struggled with an appropriate candidate for Nairobi Governor and an entry point into the large Luhya vote basket. Jubilee finally has a credible and safe pair of hands in Eugene that can deliver the critical 200,000 plus votes it needs to topple Kidero’s grip on Nairobi.
Tim Wanyonyi seems to understand this and the power that this would give him in the Nairobi political establishment where Kidero’s machinery has side stepped him. For Tim, it is an entry into the centre where he would be Eugene’s go to man in power and political enforcement. While Tim was being politically correct in Embakasi to ensure he does not unnecessarily rub CORD supporters the wrong way, his message of support and solidarity was loud enough for everyone to hear.
Eugene Wamalwa is coming to town and his Luhya base is mobilized to receive and send him to City Hall. The Jubilee Luhya strategy finally has something it can bank and invest in to not only deliver Nairobi but a critical 500,000 votes at the presidential level.