The clash between Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala and Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa’s supporters point to the ongoing supremacy wars in the politics of succession in Western Kenya.
For the first time in decades, a new and younger breed of politicians is stepping out of the shadows of the traditional kingpins to claim their place and fill an anticipated vacuum to be left with the exit of the region’s political old boys.
While Echesa said Malala was envious of his government position, the later observed that the Cabinet Secretary was yet to understand his roles and accused him of instigating the Friday fracas.
Malala in summary told Achesa
“Rashid, if you would have gone to school, you would be a refined thinker.
Its alleged that you schemed and killed an ANGLICAN BISHOP in Shibale.
Its alleged that you masterminded the raid and theft of guns from the Bookers Police Post
Its alleged that you killed the Legal Officer of Mumias Sugar Company
Its alleged that you set up your brother in a motor vehicle theft in which he died
Its alleged that u planned and executed the killings of people in Bungoma town
Its alleged that you kept your father in the morgue for one month for 1 month fundraising on his dead body against Islamic customs
Its alleged that you are a haunted person with blood on your hands.
If you would be able to read, I know you would understand.
Senator Cleophas Malala; dropping scientific wisdom since 1906. pic.twitter.com/WRNnaZPuFA
— Gabriel Oguda (@gabrieloguda) June 30, 2018
The political fight between the two, Malala a thespian and Echesa a former boxer, could perhaps signify the deeper underlying currents in the politics of a reign struggling to find a unifying voice.
With both Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula finding it increasingly difficult to maintain relevance, the two have perhaps seen opportunity as the region prepares for a change of guard.
Political analyst Martin Andati, however, believes that the two are an extension of a surrogate war between Deputy President William Ruto and Opposition leader Raila Odinga, with Echesa fighting for the later and Malala for the former.
“The political war is being cascaded from the national to the local level, with the two representing each of their sides. It has nothing to do with generational change, Mudavadi still has an edge in the region’s politics, though he has been slow to take the responsibility strongly,” said Andati.
The new kids on the block might have a bruising style, but so did those who came before them. At one time, firebrand politics was what the region was known for.
Former Butere MP Martin Shikuku and former ministers Peter Habenga Okondo and Fred Gumo never shied away from confrontation, either through their words or fists. Shikuku’s acerbic tongue and witty statements put him and Butere on the map. Although Gumo, who is seen as the father of rough politics, was elected in Nairobi, his political tentacles were felt all the way to western where he ran his politics with an iron fist and thrived in his Fanya Fujo Uone moniker. It was either his way of the highway.
Former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale and former Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo were the later day politicians who at one point in their careers came close to matching Shikuku’s political agility.
It is the exit of these initial crop of leaders that is culminating into the jostling for space by the newly elected, newly appointed, newly influential crop of young leaders in western.