Kenya’s Next President: Is Eugene Wamalwa’s Bid as timely as Obama’s?
Remember the saying: all that starts like a trickle is indeed what feeds the mighty ocean. Just like US President Obama, Eugene Wamalwa is a candidate every Kenyan would wish to elect president but is curtailed by the endemic status quo thought: Kenya has never had so young yet charismatic person as president, will he manage the country affairs? This resonates with the fear of a black president for White House! Will he manage? But it came to pass that yes he can.
Eugene has a demeanor which easily makes people trust him. He often seems to speak from the heart and quite believes what he says. Even his facial expression is that of an honest person. But his composure is often confused for a coward.
Senior politicians are alive to this fact and that is why they cautiously comment that the ‘boy’ should wait because he is not old enough. Kenyans are analyzing Eugene in private forums but just like Obama’s case no one wants to be the first to tread the unbeaten path of total change including the future president’s age. White conservatism did not want to entertain the remotest idea of a black president and black pessimists retorted that it was too early in history to start thinking of a black president. Is it also too early in history to have a fairly young president in Kenya?
These old generation fears remind one of the droopiness that many hold concerning the possibility of a female president in Kenya. To shift from a patterned routine is always hard and to step out of the box is risky but often rewarding.
One politician rightfully stated that presidency is not a trouser which is made for old people, so that a young person aspiring to enter Statehouse will be required to reduce its size to fit.
When Obama talked of real change, this is what he meant; a break from the past and an assessment of our ‘unfounded’ fears often based on stereotypes.
When Obama was dismissed as a celebrity candidate, Wamalwa’s opponents especially aged politicians dismiss him as a celebrity speech maker; a novice set on charming youths with speeches.
The only grey accusation Eugene’s opponents have strenuously fore grounded is his biological link to the late Kijana Wamalwa. However, between Eugene and PM Raila and Deputy PM Uhuru; who has rode on the back of power inheritance and dynasty?In fact when his brother Kijana passed on, in the by-elections, Eugene Wamalwa vied for the seat under little known Republican Party of Kenya but lost. The by-election was won by Davies Nakitare of NARC. He is a self made politician.
EUGENE Ludovic Wamalwa has been the MP for Saboti since 2007. He first joined elective politics in 2003 after the death of his brother and Vice President Michael Wamalwa Kijana. In his presidential bid he has had to content with sabotage from seasoned and wealthy politicians especially from his home base –Western and neghbouring Nyanza- PM’s closet. The potential capacity of Eugene can easily be measured by the concerted efforts that senior politicians are making to hinter his access to the people. A case is the cancellation of his rally in Bungoma on31 January. At the behest of Deputy PM, Hon. Musalia currently a seniour politician in Western, the PM engineered the cancellation of the rally by the government claiming security reasons.
Talking to the political editor of The Star newspaper, Eugene said; “I blame my brothers in ODM for the cancellation of the first rally and I know they are against my candidature.”
“People came from as far as Busia, Mbale, Kolongolo in Kwanza riding on bicycles. They wanted to see why the powerful forces had blocked the rally. It was King Herod kind of spirit where the King wanted to kill all the kids. I did state to them clearly that we want to expand the horizons of generational change.” The Saboti MP claims.
During a fund raising in Eugene’s constituency, Minister William Ruto endorsed Eugene’s candidature by stating that if he (Ruto) can’t make it he is ready to support a young man like Eugene for the presidency because of “generation change”
The Saboti MP has also received endorsement from heavy weights like FORD-K chairman, Hon.Kombo, Jimmy Kibaki- the president’s son and the youth empowerment NGO Simama Kenya. Simama Kenya is an NGO whose agenda is youth empowerment. So far they have plans of registering it as a political party in future. Eugene says he feels honoured by the Simama Kenya endorsement; however he quickly adds that he is not a member of Simama Kenya.
“I am a member of Ford Kenya and I am seeking to be the presidential candidate of Ford Kenya.”
Ford-Kenya Chairman Musikari Kombo has endorsed Saboti MP Eugene Wamalwa’s presidential bid therefore pointing out his supposed successor in the party. Lang’ata politician Stanley Livondo has also supported Eugene and urged Luhya leaders to stop sabotaging the march to State House. Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo, also urged Eugene to push ahead with his political ambitions.
In the Kitale meeting, ODM ministers William Ruto and Najibu Balala, failed to turn up, but MPs Joshua Kuttuny, David Koech and Elijah Lagat attended. When Eugene landed at Kenyatta Stadium a jubilant crowd shouted, “Our president is here.”
“Every time you deride me as too young and very poor to be the president of Kenya, you are simply insulting and laughing at the youths of this country.” He states. He is already coming out as the face of the youth and those for generation change.
“I get inspired by the Obama experience. Money is the least of my worries. When Obama won the elections and he was speaking in Chicago, he said that when he started the campaign 21 months earlier, many young people who supported his campaign were college students and they are the people who donated $5, $10 and $20 to fund his campaign.”
In Kenya today the youth are the majority; almost 70% of the population; Eugene believes they should be awakened to play a more active role in politics.
“It is the voice of the awakened generation of young people that propelled Obama to the highest office. I believe the same can happen in Kenya today. It is an issue of awakening the youth.”
Within the party Eugene faces the aggressive, experienced and wealthy Foreign Affairs Minister, Wetang’ula. Eugene says their relationship with Wetangula is cordial. But adds; “with competition, it’s normal to have friction.”
It is too early to present much, anything is possible in politics and we hope a man can try.