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Wetang’ula denies interest in Bungoma gubernatorial seat

Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula on Sunday denied claims he was contemplating running for the Bungoma gubernatorial seat, saying he was focused on the presidency.

The Bungoma senator, who is in Australia on official duty, said in a statement that he had no desire to drop his presidential bid and vie for governorship.

This comes as Ford Kenya secretary-general, Dr Eseli Simiyu, linked Jubilee to the allegations that Mr Wetang’ula was planning to drop his bid for the presidency ahead of the 2017 elections.

“As I near the end of my official tour in Australia, word has reached me that mischievous and malicious persons are circulating a rumour that I will be contesting the Bungoma gubernatorial seat. For the avoidance of doubt, may I state categorically that, I Moses Masika Wetang’ula, remains focused on contesting for the presidency of this country,” said Mr Wetang’ula.

“I have neither desire nor interest whatsoever in the position of governor of Bungoma County,” he added.

The senator is battling for the Cord ticket against other coalition co-principals Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka.

The three have said they will join hands with Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi and other like-minded opposition leaders to forge a formidable force — the National Supper Alliance (Nasa) — to face off with Jubilee in next year’s elections.

Kanu chairman and Baringo senator Gideon Moi and Chama Cha Mashinani leader Isaac Ruto, who is also Bomet governor, are also said to have a soft spot for the joint opposition ticket.

QUEST FOR PRESIDENCY

On Sunday, Dr Simiyu said Mr Wetang’ula’s opponents were keen on derailing his quest for the presidency, adding that they were the source of the “rumour” that he would be seeking to unseat Governor Kenneth Lusaka.

Mr Lusaka folded his New Ford Kenya party in September and joined President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto’s Jubilee Party.

“The rumours originated from Jubilee cohorts in Bungoma,” Dr Simiyu told the Daily Nation on Sunday.

Claims have been doing rounds in social media that Mr Wetang’ula may opt to vie for governor following his “unlikely” chances to clinch the opposition ticket for the presidency.

With the harsh deadlines following the passing of the new election laws, all parties are required to submit lists of their members to the electoral commission at least 90 days to the date of the General Election.

The 2016 Election Laws (Amendment) Bill and the Election Offences Bill passed by the National Assembly in September bars party-hopping.

In April during Mr Wetang’ula’s presidential launch at Muliro Gardens in Kakamega County, teargas canisters were hurled at the main dais disrupting the event that had been skipped by Mr Odinga.

Several times, youths attempted to disrupt Mr Wetang’ula’s rally, each time chanting slogans in support of Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya.

The rivalry between Mr Oparanya and senator Bonny Khalwale who is seeking to unseat him played out during the ceremony.

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