NASA principals (from left) Moses Wetang’ula, Raila Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi and Kalonzo Musyoka believe Western is their stronghold.
President Uhuru Kenyatta returns to Western today in his quest to claim a share of the 1.9 million votes.
The President will be in Vihiga barely a week after holding several rallies in Bungoma, Busia, Kakamega and Vihiga counties.
The National Super Alliance (NASA), however, insists the region remains solidly behind the Opposition. But judging from the President’s statements during his recent visits, he is optimistic of a significant number of votes.
NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga appears resolved to completely lock out the President as he too has concentrated his campaigns in the region. The Opposition launched its national campaigns at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega on June 3.
Thereafter, they campaigned in Trans Nzoia on Thursday and Bungoma on Friday last week. Yesterday, NASA brigade was in Vihiga and will be in Busia today.
Uhuru and Raila teams are leaving nothing to chance in Western and are engaged in cut-throat competition to win the hearts of residents.
Deputy President William Ruto, last week exuded confidence while dismissing his critics for questioning his endless visits to the region. The DP has made it clear that his trips will not end anytime soon until Western chooses to work with the government. “Jubilee victory is unstoppable. It will be bad for us to form the government and leave Western in the cold again,” he said.
NASA Western regional presidential campaign coordinator Khalid Njiraini has dismissed the President’s tour, saying it will not translate into votes. “Jubilee’s attempts to paint Kakamega red flopped last weekend and local MPs affiliated to the party had to ferry people from far–flung areas to cheer the President and his team, but even that did not work out for them. Things will not be different in Vihiga where NASA commands big support,” he said.
In the 2013 elections, Raila garnered 847,287 votes against Uhuru’s 140,651 in Western region. Njiraini said selling Jubilee in Western would be a herculean task. “Even those MPs charged with that task know how taxing it is to sell the party in this region,” he said.
The President, however, enjoys cordial relationship with Vihiga Governor Moses Akaranga who will be defending his seat on the Progressive Party of Kenya (PPK) ticket. But during the NASA launch, Akaranga made an about-turn and declared his support for NASA.
Political analysts have argued that Jubilee might have succeeded in leaving indelible mark in Bungoma and Trans Nzoia counties as the populous Bukusu community have been leaning towards the government. Bungoma Governor Ken Lusaka is the Jubilee point man in the region and commands a huge support.
Lusaka, MPs Dan Wanyama (Webuye West), John Waluke (Sirisia), Boniface Otsiula (Bumula), Bungoma Woman Rep Reginalda Wanyonyi and Water CS Eugene Wamalwa, have been mobilising the two counties to support Uhuru’s re-election bid. But Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale has told the people of Western to reject Jubilee and foil chances for Uhuru’s re-election.
Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba , Teso South MP Mary Emase and her Teso North counterpart Aurther Odera, have vowed to ensure that Jubilee has infiltrated Busia County despite many hurdles.