As 2022 General Elections draw closer, political realignments are taking shape with many leaders fighting to remain relevant ahead of the do or die contest.
One such leader is Kimilili Member of Parliament Didmus Barasa who has for some time now been associated with Deputy President William Ruto’s Tangatanga camp that supports the second in command’s 2022 presidential ambitions.
Barasa, however, seems to be succumbing to pressure from the Western region think tanks, to join forces with other local leaders and push for the interests of one of their own ahead of the 2022 presidential race.
The MP announced on Sunday that he is taking a four-month sabbatical leave from the Ruto-linked group’s activities in an attempt to bring rival groups in the Western region to speak in one voice politically.
The leaders include Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetangula, Musalia Mudavadi of Amani National Congress (ANC) and former Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Mukhisa Kituyi.
The three have expressed interest in the 2022 presidential race.
Addressing members of the press at his Nasianda home, the self-declared arbiter stated that he will use the break to discuss with the leaders how the elusive Luhya unity could be achieved before the 2022 polls.
His remarks came a week after Wetangula and the former UNCTAD boss, who both hail from Bungoma County, differed sharply on who exactly should lead the Luhya unity quest.
The leaders differed publicly during the funeral of Peter Watangwa, the father of political scientist Robert Watangwa, held in Matili village, Kimilili constituency.
Wetangula had urged Kituyi to join him and Mudavadi if he wanted to make his candidature for the top seat realistic.
Kituyi, who stepped down from the plum job at the UN this year, however, dismissed the invitation saying the two were not the only leaders in the Luhya community.
But Barasa, in his Sunday statement, insisted that with his input the Luhya leaders will work together for the benefit of their people.
He said he is ready to ditch Tangatanga if the consultations with the Luhya leaders and constituents won’t favour the movement.
“I am driven by the desires of my people…the day it (Tanganga) will not accommodate the interests of my people I will have no business being in a movement that is not beneficial to the people I serve, ” he said.
Barasa is among leaders who have over the recent past been openly associated with the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) that rebranded from the Party of Development and Reform (PDR) which is currently in a coalition with the ruling Jubilee Party.
UDA, which is touted as the vehicle that Ruto will use in the 2022 race to State House following the deep divisions in the ruling Jubilee party, fielded its first candidates in the March 4 by-elections as part of efforts to popularise its “hustler” ideology across the country ahead of the next year elections.
Barasa was among lawmakers, who were arrested and charged in court over alleged involvement in the March 4 Kabuchai by-election chaos.