Wetang’ula denies talks with Ruto

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Bungoma senator Moses Wetang’ula yesterday denied that he was in talks with Deputy President William Ruto ahead of 2012.

Last weekend the Star reported that the two had held talks and their allies led by Chris Wamalwa of Kiminini said there was nothing wrong with the two leaders working together.

“I have not held talks with Ruto and I have no intention of doing so. Why would I leave Cord where I have a better chance of becoming president? I will remain stick in Cord,” said Wetang’ula yesterday.

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Jubilee has been focusing its energies on western Kenya where it hopes to win over some leaders so they can get a foothold on the cord stronghold.

President Uhuru is considering reaching out to both Musalia Mudavadi and Kenneth Marende for government appointments as a way of enticing them to his side of the coalition.

This matter is reinforced by claims that both sides in the Jubilee coalition supported and funded different sides in last December’s Bungoma by-election, in which Wetangula retained his seat against Musikari Kombo.

Analysts have linked the by- election to the continuation of the tension in Jubilee, where both URP and TNA have been having uneasy relationship over appointments and multi-billion government tenders.

According to sources well versed in Luhya politics, Ruto is reported to have supported and funded Wetangula’s campaigns in the by elections out of realization that he needs a foothold in the region that is home to the country’s second largest community.

In the thinking of Ruto’s court, Wetangula is an attractive prospect because his Bukusu people can be relied upon to deliver a collective vote that would be significant in his ambitions.

Other sources suggest that Khalwale is keen to deputise Ruto in future political endeavors, which is why he has vehemently opposed the recent coronation of Wetangula as the luhya kingpin.

Yesterday, Khalwale was non committal on the matter only telling the Star that “Wetangula and I control the thinking of the people of the region”. “The fact is that Ruto is Uhuru’s deputy but if he comes we shall give him a hearing,” he said.

As tensions in the ruling coalition rise by the day, signs that the Luhya region has emerged as the theater in which Jubilee wars are being fought abound.

With the two principals in Jubilee unsure of their future together, they are looking out to the region for what one analyst described as an “insurance policy” or “spare wheel” strategy.

The appointment of Mudavadi to the cabinet is being premised on this “insurance policy or spare wheel” strategy just in case URP decide to ship themselves out of government.

Under this arrangement, it is expected that Marende and Eugene, who are being considered for positions in the parastatals, will be Mudavadi’s vanguard to ensure TNA’s entry into the region is free of hustles.

The Jubilee war in luhya land is significant because the region has considerable numerical strength and that it voted overwhelmingly for Cord’s Raila Odinga in the last general election.

While URP escaped with two parliamentary seats in Busia County, this is the only region in which TNA got nothing, not even a member of the county assembly.

The political realignments in the region are however not amusing some. Vihiga senator George Khaniri believes both Ruto and Wetangula are engaged in politics of deceit.

Youth leaders allied to CORD have also dismissed the two terming reports of their talks as Jubilee’s propaganda. ODM youth leader Ben Ombima said the Jubilee government has initiated the propaganda after sensing that CORD will be a formidable force in the 2017 elections .

“Why are these reports coming just when the principals have shown the commitment of working together?” Ombima asked. Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa says a claim that Jubilee wars are being fought in western is propaganda.

“Wetangula is our elected leader whom we are looking out for direction and the others are not,” he said. He said as the Luhya community, we have decided that we must have one, in this case Wetangula. The others are day dreaming

Khaniri is of the view that rapprochement between the two is premature and unfortunate because Ruto still deputises president Uhuru.

“This is politics of deceit. Making 2017 political pacts while still putting one leg here and another there is cheating Kenyans. Leaders must say what they mean and mean what they say. ,” he said.

Khaniri maintains that the issue of who leads the community in any political talks is a matter that must involve everyone in the region and not an individual.

Khalwale admitted the region has suddenly become attractive to the ruling coalition due to what he described as “troubles between TNA and URP”.

– the-star.co.ke

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