Bonny Khalwale has won back his Ikolomani parliamentary seat. Mr. Khalwale lost his seat after the courts nullified his election in 2007 on account of irregularities.
What does this mean for Kenyan national politics?
My answer is that it is hard to tell. The results will certainly dent Deputy Premier Mudavadi’s claim to be the voice of Western Province. The outcome also reflects badly on Premier Odinga who had staked his reputation in the election by campaigning repeatedly in the constituency for the ODM candidate – who came second. The biggest winner here is Eugene Wamalwa who has been angling for the title of
ethnic chief spokesperson for Western Province. It just might serve to increase his chances of being nominated as a vice presidential candidate (by either Uhuru or Kalonzo) in next year’s election.
That said, all politics is local. Clan politics and Western-specific regional and sub-ethnic squabbles definitely played a role in this election. Plus, Mr. Khalwale can always be bought off into the Odinga bandwagon come next year. That is the nature of Kenyan politics.
As regards next year’s general election the field is still wide open. All bets are off until candidates hand in their presidential nomination papers. It is a good thing the constitution has a ban on post-submission negotiation of posts (and alliances).