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Kenya’s Next President: Is Eugene Wamalwa’s Bid as timely as Obama’s?

By   /  March 25, 2010  /  10 Comments

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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.

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About the author

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Wilfred Mulliro is Kenyan columnist. MA in International Studies from University of Nairobi, B.Ed. in English Literature from Kenyata University. His articles which focus on Social issues and Politics appear in Kenya's leading Newspapers.

10 Comments

  1. avatar Alice Njroge says:

    Its good to get a new face in Kenyan leadership, but I’m affraid that guys who admiring the presedential seat in the coming elections on 2012 will need a lonf time to reach the post. Rember Mr. Mulliro Odinga Sn., Wamalwa Sn who fight to get the post but…

  2. avatar Deno says:

    Alice,you should come to terms that everything comes for a reason and this is time its time for change.We should not be rigid minded as the African Americans who believed that its too early for a history of a black president. Muliro has just hit the nail on the head,Its time for young people to stand to be counted.The fate of Odinga sn,Wamalwa sn and even Matiba is not Eugene’s at all in any case they were all McCain’s age mates.We can afford Eugene as our president and make history for generations.Youths have spoken and it will come to pass that they are the leaders of tomorrow.But we should keep in mind that this Kenya we Look at has a different Professional ethics compared to US and we hope that the electoral body in Kenya shall consider ethics in their work,Because most heavy weight politicians use power and money to oversee a victory which isn’t genuine.A case of the 1992 elections and 2007.The rest is history.

  3. avatar Lucas says:

    I am with Deno, and I really hope that our sister Alice will wake up and start living positively. Stereotypes and informal rules that we Kenyans have got ourselves to believe should be followed (in our minds) have continued to derail the efforts for bringing change to this our beloved country. The constitution States very clearly the minimum age of A Presidential candidate in Kenya, and that should be the rule. Not the rules that we make in our minds that a presidential candidate or even a parliamentary candidate should have a big car, a lot of money and some believing that he/she should be a university graduate etc. We should even stop believing that a woman can not be a president in Kenya. The fear of Change will continue t drag us behind unless we wake up and start living positively!.

  4. Yes we Kenyans should wake up and look for a well and strong person like Wamalwa eugen who is after constructing our contry coming back to normal.

  5. avatar Bradley Barasa. says:

    Eugene is a the man to watch like the biblical David he will trounce his rivals.

  6. avatar Morai says:

    Dear Eugine,
    Indeed we need selfless leaders whose hearts have changed. We believe that you can and you will. Addressing national issues will give us the leader we want. One land mark and that has revolutionized citizen of our beloved country is the Pension fund at least getting 1/2 of it to help in owning a home. Many believe that such selfless decisions could make the most industrious nation – Kenya move forward never to look back! Now there are some who had Personal pension plan that is not included in the current set up. At some point the employer did not feel ok when someone left employment for other greener pastures so he/she was asked to take the pension to other insurance under personal plan/arrangement — how can you assist for all to benefit?

  7. avatar Prince Maloba says:

    Dear Eugune
    The scale and economic toll posed by present government coalition of two old men,Kibaki and Raila is increasingly clear indicator that Kenyan needs new fresh of blood of leadership that have never served in KANU regimes.
    Young and youth of this nation who have never lead this country for years,are looking forward for your true commitment to generation change of leadership that solutions of Kenyans problems must come from a variety of fronts.
    Eugene your star for presidential is increasing in western Kenya,but my appeal is that you visit Matungu district and other districts,address people and open offices.Then go to other parts of the country sell your new ideas and policies.ODM wave in western is dying out as in other parts of Kenya.

  8. avatar Hartel Wambu says:

    Eugine it is your due time to make kenya a better home for young people who have been ignored for long. Press on and put a mark on kenyan soil that will be remembered for ever.

  9. avatar kiprotich kirui says:

    am sure of one thing that in the next election we are getting rid of the old generation, the old aged people in the parliament shall face the strength of the youth.but this is where the problem comes in.how are we as the youth going to take over?we will not move our nation forward if the content of the youth we elect is the same as of the old ones in the seats now.we have a task as youth to scrutinize those we are to elect.eugene we hope you are there to save this nation.we lay our faith in you

  10. avatar Sammy says:

    Kenyan youths are ready for someone like you my br.eugine,but the problem comes in with the steps you have made nowadays.you could have your own political move than forming alliances with people with wrong political ambitions.you started well but you changed and took a wrong group that has built a wrong picture on your political caree.

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