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Why Nasa’s dark horse Moses Wetang’ula may outrun them all

He is the dark horse in the Nasa stable: he has not vied for the Presidency nor held the second-highest office in the land, unlike the others.

He also has the shortest political stint of the four.

Yet pundits believe Moses Masika Wetang’ula holds the surprise card to take the Nasa flag.

Because he is pitted against more seasoned opponents — former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and former Vice-Presidents Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi — political analyst Angela Ambitho believes Wetang’ula may prove handy in ambushing Jubilee rivals.

“In their scheme of things it is unlikely that he is the Nasa principal on the minds of Jubilee strategists, whose candidature they could be plotting to counter,” Ms Ambitho, chief executive of pollster Infotrak Harris, said.

“If packaged well, Mr Wetang’ula could be the ultimate wild card to unleash on the Uhuru campaign.”

She is echoed by Prof Amukowa Anangwe, who teaches political science at the University of Dodoma, Tanzania.

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Unlike his co-principals, he is unpredictable and his qualities, political dealings, strengths and weaknesses uncertain, adds the don.

But to effectively execute the “wild card”, Ms Ambitho and Prof Anangwe agree the quartet must comprehend this negotiated avenue and Wetang’ula gets the full backing of Nasa players.

Should he end up as the ‘Chosen One’, it would not be a misplaced favour.

Owing to separation of powers under the Constitution, one can’t run for the top office and Parliament concurrently, meaning losers are locked out of the august House.

WETA AND MUDAVADI EQUATION

In the absence of Odinga and Kalonzo, the Ford-Kenya party leader has spearheaded the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) agenda in Parliament.

Mudavadi joined the Cord trio only two months ago.

Ideally, as Senate Leader of Minority and the only Cord co-principal in Parliament, Wetang’ula has over the past four years championed the cause of the Opposition in the House.

He has been the voice of the Opposition, co-ordinating the legislative agenda of Cord even in the National Assembly, where Francis Nyenze is Minority Leader.

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“He has demonstrated excellent leadership to our parliamentary teams in the Senate and the National Assembly,” Wetang’ula’s deputy at Ford-K, Dr Boni Khalwale, said.

“In the Senate, for instance, he has whipped us into achieving the requisite numbers and offered bearing on the course of debates.”

The Kakamega senator singles out gruelling debates on electoral laws, security laws and the so-called draconian media laws.

In all instances, he says, the Bungoma senator led by example.

In assessing Wetang’ula’s chances of flying the Nasa flag, however, Ms Ambitho says this must first be weighed against Mudavadi’s chances.

“Mr Wetang’ula and Mr Mudavadi come from the same geographical location and are both Luhyas,” Ms Ambitho said.

“Since it is imprudent to pair them on the Nasa presidential ticket, the search for a suitable candidate begins with a Mudavadi-versus-Wetang’ula evaluation.”

TEAMWORK
Mr Mudavadi, controversially named the Luhya spokesman recently, has a bigger national stature and commands sizeable support outside his Maragoli sub-tribe but Wetang’ula is said to be more practical in pushing the Luhya case.

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When in 2013 the electoral body assigned his party two nomination slots in the National Assembly and Senate, for instance, he handed them to one-time Luhya Council of Elders chairman Patrick Wangamati and Ms Catherine Mukite Nobwola, respectively.

Mr Wetang’ula is more brazen and realistic in demonstrating belief and bias towards the Luhya.

“This is a pointer that, at a local level, he may be more aggressive in securing the national cake for his people,” Prof Anangwe said.

The former Cabinet minister in President Daniel arap Moi’s government adds that Wetang’ula has come a long way.

However, the Bukusu, who occupy Bungoma and Trans Nzoia counties, are crucial to Nasa and teamwork, not antagonism, between Wetang’ula and Mudavadi will help to seal the Luhya vote, says the former Butere MP.

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