By The Weekly Vision Team
Former Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa dropped a political bombshell at Mr Raila Odinga’s feet last week when he alleged that a section of ODM MPs from Kakamega county often met President William Ruto for handouts. Mr Echesa alleged that some of the targeted MPs will soon decamp from ODM to UDA. Analysts are, however, questioning why he saw it fit to shame the MPs at a public forum, which analysts say, was perhaps only meant to achieve certain political objectives.
Mr Echesa is aware that Kakamega County has for long been considered an ODM stronghold, with the party having won 9 out of the 12 legislative seats in the last elections, with Musalia Mudavadi’s ANC taking 2 seats and DAP-K of Eugene Wamalwa taking a seat. Frantic efforts have been made by the Kenya Kwanza administration to penetrate the country since they assumed the reins of power, but one year down the line, it has not worked out.
Kakamega Governor Fernandez Barasa was initially seen by the Ruto administration as a soft target; at one point, he seemed to have shifted allegiance from ODM when he began skipping party activities, only attending meetings convened by President Ruto in Kakamega County and other counties in western Kenya.
However, when he realized that the ground was growing hostile towards him, he made a U-turn and is now firmly back in the ODM. His deputy, Ayub Savula, has been steadfast in Azimio, there were even claims at one time that Savula was being groomed to face his boss in 2027.
The political landscape in Kakamega is now generating a lot of heat following Mr. Echesa’s exposure. Analysts, however, say that COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli is William Ruto’s new spanner ‘boy’, whose main mandate now is to lure Luhya MPs to abandon ODM for UDA. The truth of the matter is that during the last general elections, almost all ODM aspirants from Kakamega County were sponsored by Mr Atwoli, and they still see him as their political godfather.
Most of the MPs were beneficiaries of direct party tickets, they were never subjected to party nominations. Some were originally in ODM, defected to the ANC, and in 2022, they were brought back to ODM by Mr Atwoli after he negotiated with them that they would not be subjected to party primaries.
Going by the above facts, it is, therefore, reasonable to believe that the ODM MPs from Kaakmega still owe allegiance to Atwoli. The big question, however, is why Echesa chose to reveal such sensitive allegations against the MPs at a funeral in the presence of Raila Odinga. Analysts say that Echesa was just trying to play politics by warning Mr Raila Odinga that William Ruto and the UDA will soon make serious political inroads in Kakamega.