The formation of the National Super Alliance (NASA) has raised the stakes for both the Opposition coalition and Jubilee in as far as the Western voting bloc is concerned.
NASA brings together four principals; Raila Odinga (ODM), Musalia Mudavadi (Amani National Congress), Moses Wetangula (Ford Kenya) and Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper).
Since 2013, Jubilee has made inroads in Western with the hope of gaining ground in what has for long been considered an Opposition stronghold, going as far as successfully convincing some legislators to defect from ODM, Ford Kenya and Amani National Congress (ANC) to the “Red Party”.
Their intention was to capitalise on Western’s irregular voting pattern which have seen them divide their votes among different presidential candidates in most elections.
In 2002, Mwai Kibaki got 505,716 votes in Western region against Uhuru Kenyatta’s 124,273 and Simon Nyachae’s 9,080 votes.
In 2007 General Election, Raila Odinga got 639,246 votes against Mwai Kibaki’s 312,300 and Kalonzo Musyoka’s 6,729 votes.
In the 2013 elections, CORD leader Raila Odinga got 755,525 votes beating the region’s ‘very own’ Musalia Mudavadi who garnered 353,864 while Uhuru Kenyatta got 66,185 votes.
Two of the past three elections had a running mate from the Luhya community (Kijana Wamalwa in 2002 and Musalia Mudavadi in 2007) but despite this, the other candidates got considerable numbers from the region.
In 2002, however, Mudavadi was Uhuru’s running mate while in 2013 he ran alone as the United Democratic Movement (UDF) presidential candidate.
While most people liken the Western region to a tower of babel, ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi sees its voting trend as sign of democracy.
“People should actually praise people from the region instead of castigating them for voting for whomever they want because this is a sign of true democracy,” Mudavadi said in a past interview on Citizen TV.
But as much as the inclusion of two leaders from the Western (Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetangula and Amani’s Musalia Mudavadi) places NASA on a higher ground than Jubilee, they will have to do more to make the region vote as a bloc.
In its presidential line-up, NASA must give the flag bearer position to one of the leaders from the Western, with the most preferred one being Musalia Mudavadi, owing to his political experience and influence.
According to political analysts, anything short of this would see cases of voter apathy in the region with some of the locals voting for Jubilee, which may be more than in the 2013 elections, owing to their activities in the region including the launch of several projects.
The complexity surrounding the presidential lineup is however causing jitters in NASA with each of the four principals eyeing at least a position in the lineup.
It is almost obvious that ODM leader Raila Odinga would only accept the flag bearer position, with the rest being left to battle for the running mate position.
Concerns are however being raised over Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka’s next course of action should he miss out in the presidential lineup.
While some analysts have intimated that the Wiper leader may go it alone in such a case, Wiper leaders including the party chair David Musila have insisted that they would not leave Nasa and if Kalonzo leaves he would be doing so in his individual capacity, and not as a party.
And so, we wait.