Political realignments in western Kenya appear to have shifted after Amani National Congress (ANC) clinched 11 of the region’s 33 parliamentary seats.
ODM was the dominant party. Mr Musalia Mudavadi’s party won seats in the four counties.
In Kakamega, ANC won six parliamentary seats, including senator.
Former Mahiakalo Ward Rep Cleophas Malala is the new senator. Mr Malala’s victory capped ANC wins in Matungu, Lurambi, Lugari, Butere and Khwisero constituencies.
Mr Mudavadi was made the region’s spokesman last year.
READ: Mudavadi crowned Luhya spokesperson
Central Organisation of Trade Unions Secretary-General Francis Atwoli spearheaded the identification of the spokesman, arguing it would make the region vote as a bloc in 2017.
Mr Mudavadi was a co-principal of the National Super Alliance whose presidential flagbearer Raila Odinga lost to Jubilee’s Uhuru Kenyatta in the just-ended election.
His performance puts him ahead of Ford-Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula in the region’s political influence.
It also leaves Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, the ODM deputy leader, badly exposed.
The outcome of the August 8 General Election showed that residents lived to their billing by voting for their preferred candidates.
Mr Mudavadi’s supporters had earlier been buoyed by the expectation that he would be on the ballot as Nasa presidential candidate.
However, things took a different turn when Mr Odinga was handed the ticket.
READ: Raila Odinga named Nasa flag bearer
The ANC boss told his supporters that he sacrificed his ambitions for the sake of Kenya.
“I ask you to send Jubilee packing since the ruling party is our common enemy,” he said.
Dr Pamela Buhere of Masinde Muliro University said Kakamega and Vihiga had emerged the major catchments for ANC because of the support Mr Mudavadi enjoys in the counties.
She said the support for ANC has something to do with realignments ahead of 2022.
“In Bungoma, Ford-K has had its advantages while in Kakamega and Vihiga, the Mudavadi factor has been key in driving forward the ANC popularity,” Dr Buhere said.
Dr Lucy Mandilla, a lecturer in the Department of Languages at the same university, agreed with her colleague.
“The broader perspective of the realignments indicates that western is beginning to position itself for the 2022 contest.
“The voting pattern has given a strong indication of the direction the region will likely take,” Dr Mandilla said.
The support enjoyed by the opposition in the region was jolted by intense rival campaigns by Nasa-affiliated parties.
Jubilee ended up the greatest beneficiary, winning the Kimilili, Navakholo, Mumias East, Ikolomani, Malava, Mt Elgon, Sirisia and Webuye West seats.
ANC bagged the Vihiga, Sabatia, Emuhaya, Teso North, Nambale, Webuye East, Matungu, Lurambi, Lugari, Butere and Khwisero seats.
In Kakamega, ODM suffered a setback attributed to shambolic party nominations.
ODM’s National Assembly strength shrunk from six to just two seats after losing in Lurambi, Butere and Khwisero.
Though Mr Oparanya easily retained his position, he will have a headache in his attempts to popularise ODM ahead of the 2022 elections.
ANC spread its wings to Busia County by taking the Teso North seat from Jubilee, in addition to Nambale.
In Bungoma, Ford-K clinched the governor and woman representative positions.
The party also took Likuyani Constituency in Kakamega.
Senator Boni Khalwale miscalculated badly by taking on Mr Oparanya in the governor race.
The Ford-K deputy leader’s drive to popularise the party did not yield fruits.
Western region ANC coordinator David Malala said the Mudavadi-led party deserved victory in the race for parliamentary seats.
“We went flat out to campaign aggressively for our candidates,” Mr Malala told the Nation recently.
“Our focus now is on the 2022 contest in which our party leader will offer himself for the presidency.”