, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 26 – Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi on Thursday downplayed Monday\’s ODM defeat in the Ikolomani by-election saying it was not a popularity contest between him and Saboti MP Eugene Wamalwa.
Mr Mudavadi argued that the defeat did not in any way reflect the outcome of next year\’s elections and maintained that Western Kenya remained an ODM (Orange Democratic Movement) stronghold.
The Ikolomani by-election saw New Ford Kenya candidate Bonny Khalwale reclaim the seat with 11,933 votes ahead of ODM\’s Benard Shinali who garnered 10,453 votes.
"A by-election is not necessarily the only indicator of what the voting pattern will be. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and that is democracy. We must respect the process and the outcome," he said.
The Deputy PM who doubles up as the Minister for Local Government and MP for Sabatia constituency also distanced himself from the loss saying the party collectively decided to field Mr Shinali as its candidate.
He argued that it was not his responsibility as an individual to help ODM recapture the seat. Mr Mudavadi instead accused the media of targeting him unfairly arguing that it was not necessary to apportion him blame for the loss.
"We all had a responsibility and there are so many members of ODM who spent time to come out and drum up support for our candidate. It was not Mudavadi and Khalwale fighting for the seat," he said.
"I may have been the one coming from the nearest area but that is as far as it goes; just the same way I was nearest to Emuhaya when it had its by-election," he argued.
Eldoret North MP William Ruto and his allies have teamed up with Mr Wamalwa so as to ostensibly cut Mr Mudavadi\’s influence in Western Kenya.
Mr Mudavadi has also been perceived as Raila Odinga\’s pointman in western Kenya but his allies have been urging him to come out of the PM\’s shadow. The deputy PM however rubbished such commentaries saying he supports the PM as a matter of principle.
"You know once you embrace a political party there is a process that the party goes through for nomination. So why should I walk out of that and settle for the easier option? And the easier option here is to go and form my own party?" he posed.
"It\’s not a matter of being a gentleman," he added.
He also asked Kenyans to analyse the country\’s political tempos nationally rather than through tribal cocoons arguing that such arguments divided the country into blocks.
He further maintained that the ODM had not been disorganised during the by-election campaigns.
"I may have been born in Western Kenya but if it is a question of seeking national office I will seek it from all Kenyans and all quarters," he argued.
Mr Mudavadi also challenged the Registrar of Political Parties to rein in politicians who kept switching their political camps arguing that such tactics were illegal.