Written by Leonard Wamalwa and Joseph Amunya
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Wildlife minister Noah Wekesa as he addressed mourners at the Nzoia County council offices after the body of former chairman Samson Bunyasi was received enroute to his home in Chepchoina in Kwanza constituency.Photo I Leonard Wamalwa.
Hours after Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi's move to ditch his Orange Democratic Movement party -ODM for a new outfit under the United Democratic Forum Party -UDFP, diverse views have been received from different political leaders both in ODM and outside.
Wildlife and Forestry minister Dr. Noah Wekesa termed Mudavadi's move as “untimely” and his political ambitions could have been accomplished while in ODM, but not in another new party.
"I think somebody like Mudavadi should have joined a party of national outlook to seek for his presidency, but in this case he is going to have hard time to first sell his new party before it gets what it takes to accomplish his presidential ambitions," Wekesa told journalists in an interview at the Nzoia County Council after viewing the body of the county chair Samson Bunyasi.
The minister said that Mudavadi could have stood better chances of accessing the country's leadership if he opted to remain in ODM even though not now, but next time.
"His best chance of becoming president of this country could have been achieved while in ODM than anywhere else if not now then there is always another time," the minister pointed out.
Wekesa who is aligned to Trade Minister Moses Wetangula's Ford Kenya party pointed out that despite Mudavadi coming out clear to advance his presidential ambitions in his new political vehicle of UDFP, the leaders and residents of Trans Nzoia County are in full support of Justice, National Cohesion and constitutional affairs minister Eugene Wamalwa for presidency.
"Even if Mudavadi is in the race for the presidency, we people in Trans Nzoia know that our own son who is the minister of Justice Eugene Wamalwa is running for the same seat and thus we are fully supporting Wamalwa who was the first one to declare his interest in vying for the seat and thus most of us shoved our attention towards him. We shall have to stand by our son first," Wekesa noted.
At the same time he added that likewise Mudavadi could have looked for an alternative party that has a national outlook especially from Western region such as Ford Kenya among other well known parties.
Wekesa however, indicated that the elderly leaders from the Western region will have to make efforts to bring together the ambitious leaders vying for the same seat so that they can have at least one person to be fronted for the seat.
The Kwanza MP further reiterated his saying that he has not got tired in his 'God' given powers of uniting parties and forming political coalitions in the country hence shall champion for the unity of several parties in the country.
ODM officials reactions
In the meantime, diverse reactions were received from ODM officials within branches of the party in North Rift region.
Trans Nzoia branch officials under the branch vice chairman Councilor Pius Arap Kauka told journalists in a press conference in Kitale that the party shall remain strong in the area despite Mudavadi's move which also had their branch chairman Ronald Malavi jump ship with the former deputy party leader.
"The moving of our deputy party leader Musalia Mudavadi and our branch chairman to a new party has not had much impact on the support and leadership of the party in this branch because the officials have already endorsed me to fully take over the responsibility of the chairman and we are moving on well," said Kauka who was flanked by all the leaders from all the three sub-branches of Saboti, Kwanza and Cherang'ani.
He noted that it is only ODM that has accommodated leaders and followers from all communities living in the area and they are united and geared towards sweeping all the seats in the county in the next general elections.
Elsewhere, in West Pokot County one of the sub-branch chairmen from Kacheliba Michael Seretion Kempur lauded Mudavadi's decision to move from ODM noting that it was long overdue and had proved his boldness to make such a decision.
He told West FM through his mobile phone that he will move together with the politician to the new party noting that Mudavadi is the new darling of many Kenyans.
Lugari civic leaders hail Mudavadi
A section of leaders and residents in Lugari district led by Mahanga/Maturu ward councilor James Sweta Wandanje (right) and Mr. Essendi Mwanzi, a seasoned politician, the residents termed Mudavadi’s move as both brave and mature, which they observed had come at the right time.
Mr. Sweta also praised the deputy prime minister’s decision of relinquishing his local government portfolio, adding that by doing so Mudavadi had stood out as a selfless leader who can be trusted with any leadership position.
The outspoken New Ford Kenya councilor chided those urging Mudavadi to resign from deputy premiership, pointing out that since the position was created under the National Accord parliament was the only organ with the powers to remove him from that position.
Urging the electorate in western province to support Mudavadi, the civic leader claimed that about 90% of civic leaders from Lugari county council have promised to throw their weight behind the DPM.
He, at the same time challenged both Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa and Lugari legislator Cyrus Jirongo to respect their promises by stepping aside from the presidential race and pave way for Mudavadi.
Meanwhile, Mr. Charles Werengai, a member of ODM Elections Board resigned from his position today, moments after Mudavadi announced his move to UDFP.
Werengai who is a staunch support of Mudavadi cited the controversial clause in ODM”s constitution, which makes the party leader as its automatic candidate for the presidency, as his major reason for quitting the orange party.
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