How Senator Khalwale Is Wrecking The UDA Party Boat From Within

By The Weekly Vision Reporter

Senator Bonny Khalwale of Kakamega County seems to have embarked on a mission to wreck the UDA party from within. Political observers also agree that the senator’s political moves in the recent past show a man on a mission to do whatever is within his powers to achieve his long-held ambition of becoming governor of Kakamega County in the next elections.  

It is worth noting that the senator has conspicuously missed key meetings by Luhya leaders at the State House lately, a clear indication of a strained relationship with the president and his close associates. Political analysts suggest that Dr. Khalwale’s extensive experience in the county’s political arena has equipped him with the knowledge to effectively navigate the political terrain, particularly during election time.

It is believed that the senator’s recent criticism of President Ruto’s administration was strategic, not coincidental. Just before the2022 elections, the senator had his eyes set on clinching the Kakamega gubernatorial seat; however, a political deal was cut by the president and other key stakeholders from western Kenya that resulted in the senator settling for the senator’s race, which he comfortably won. 

Nevertheless, before he relinquished his position in favour of Cleophas Malala, who contested the governor’s seat against the ODM party’s Fernandes Barasa and lost, Dr Khalwale demanded an assurance from William Ruto that he would assume the role of majority leader in the senate; it never happened, as he was instead appointed majority whip after the elections. What has taken many by surprise is the senator’s aggressive stance against the president now.

His attacks against the government have not been well received by the president’s closest allies, who have even made calls for the senator to be stripped of his position as majority whip for someone else, but the prospect of finding a suitable replacement from the Luhya community has proven difficult since Dr Khalwale is the sole Luhya senator elected under the UDA ticket from the community. 

A meeting the senator held a few months ago with former Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya provided a clear indication that the senator could be on his way out of the UDA party, with keen political observers saying that his new political trajectory is aimed at building his profile as the incoming Kakamega governor and not necessarily as a representative of the UDA party.

The senator is well aware that President Ruto is likely to support Cleophas Malala in the Kakamega governor’s race. Mr. Malala switched from Musalia Mudavadi’s ANC party to the UDA party; he suffered defeat at the hands of ODM’s Fernandes Barasa. To avoid being pushed out of UDA in favour of Mr Malala once again, Khalwale is said to be considering allying with the ODM party to secure support for his gubernatorial race in 2027.

It is worth noting that Governor Barasa is not on good terms with the ODM party’s top leadership, particularly Raila Odinga. His disagreement with Mr Odinga stems from the fact that he declared his willingness to work with President William Ruto and his Kenya Kwanza administration. A cunning politician, Dr. Khalwale swiftly took action, approached Mr. Oparanya for reconciliation, and offered to collaborate closely with ODM with his eyes firmly set on the 2027 Kakamega gubernatorial race.

The question now is: Will Dr. Khalwale abandon the UDA party and William Ruto for ODM in 2027? In the unpredictable world of politics, anything can happen. Considering the senator’s political approach, the probability of him affiliating with ODM is remarkably high.