Why Malalah, Savula political rivalry could cost ANC seats
Rivalry among two to Amani National Congress (ANC) politicians threaten to deny the party crucial the Kakamega governorship and and other elective seats in year’s General-Election.
The main focus is on the Kakamega gubernatorial race, which has attracted top politicians seeking to succeed outgoing Governor Wycliffe Oparanya.
On the spot are Senator Cleophas Malalah and Lugari MP Ayub Savula, who are engaged in a vicious battle for the ANC ticket.
Also seeking the ticket is former Cabinet Minister Amukowa Anangwe.
However, the bitter rivalry is pitting the youthful lawwmakers Malalah and Savula, who are all close allies of ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi.
The duo has an “alien” tag hanging on their necks and which they have to fight hard to shed off, for them to deliver the seat to ANC.
Political pundits interviewed by People Daily yesterday said ANC risked losing the seat if the current rivalries persist. “Mudavadi should know that there are other tough contestants, who are lying in wait and hoping for a fallout in ANC,” said Martin Andati, a political analyst.
United Democratic Alliance (UDA) appears to have settled on former Senator Boni Khalwale while the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company CEO Fernandes Barasa is the preferred candidiate for Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).
Shinyalu MP Justus Kizito and Deputy Governor Philip Kutima are walking a tightrope after falling out of favour with Oparanya.
But while Malalah and Savula are draining their energies fighting for the ANC ticket, their opponents are focused on next year’s elections and are not bothered about primaries.
“Mudavadi should try and strike a compromise by coaxing or even coercing either Malalah or Savula to bow out of the governorship race,” said Fred Wesonga, a local political commentator. “Both can comfortably defend their current seats. Or alternatively, one should accept to deputise the other and that will be a sure bet,” he added.
Mudavadi’s allies have been trying to strike a compromise between the two to no avail. Savula has declared himself as the party’s deputy leader and says no one can deny him the ticket “after all my investments and sacrifices.”
Malalah on the other hand, has assumed the role of the party spokesman and face even as both do not hold any official positions in ANC.
There is also deep-seated mistrust with the duo’s critics claiming that they are hatchets of Mudavadi’s opponents.
Malalah and Savula’s opponents, led by Khalwale, have branded them as outsiders and asked them “to take their fights to Siaya and Vihiga.”
“My position is that ANC must win all the 76 electable seats from the governor, MPs to Ward Reps. That is why these rivalries should come to an amicable end,” said Prof Anangwe.
He added: “I am the only true footsoldier of ANC. I believe we can end all these battles by handing me the ticket to succeed Oparanya.”
Lurambi MP Titus Khamala said they were working on strengthening their nomination structures to stem fall-outs.
“What is happening in ANC is healthy and an indicator that the party is strong in thus there should be no cause for alarm,” Khamala, the ANC’s chairman.