All politics is local we are told. As political scientists have explained, the maxim translates to proximity to power for any voter. It means that people vote for a person they feel closest to. The closer the relationship, the higher the affinity a voter has to a candidate and the higher the probability he’ll vote for him. In that case the slum dunk answer to whether Luhyas will vote for Eugene Wamalwa is an outright yes. But not so fast.
Eugene Wamalwa is charismatic, a great talker and a savvy politician who bids his time before making any political moves. He is humble, listens and is a clean politician. He has the X factor, a modern version of his late Brother, Kijana Wamalwa, and a welcome space of gentle giant politics. Eugene would thrive in British politics, a different can from Luhya Politics altogether though.
Luhya politics is extremely opinionated and hardliners tend to thrive in it. This is the reason the Khalwales, Ababus and Wetangulas have been doing well and ultimately why Raila Odinga has held a huge sway over them. Luhya politics is very male oriented with about every Luhya man holding a strong political opinion on any matter. In such a political climate, a middle ground politician like Eugene Wamalwa hasn’t done very well for himself though he continues to thrive in the Luhya political consciousness.
Eugene’s qualities are exactly what other potential political allies look for in a leader. People want someone who is measured, strong in his words, respected, considerate and goes for the middle ground rather than the extreme solution. This is the reason why the Mt Kenya establishment especially feels it can work with Eugene.
The Luhya are incredibly political but have shown political calculation when opportunity comes calling. They have in their political history never come as close to the centre of power as through Kijana Wamalwa. In Kijana, the same qualities of a middle ground politician propelled him to the top with a credible chance at the real thing had the grim reaper not come too soon.
In Eugene Wamalwa, the Luhya of Nairobi and indeed the whole community will be as proximate to real power as can be. Eugene also presents a credible partner for other communities to work with and this will be essential going into the future. The Luhya love their rubble rousers but ultimately settle for the centre when it comes to their leading leaders. In Eugene Wamalwa, the Luhya have found a leader who they can not only trust but offer to other communities as a real partner. With his gift of the garb, Eugene is about to get into the hearts of his people for a resounding political comeback and thrust into the future.