Cabinet secretary for Water and Irrigation, Eugene Wamalwa has not abandoned politics as many may believe but instead, his close allies have revealed that the former New Ford Kenya party leader has devised new ways and tactics of ensuring that his light does not go dim as his grassroots presence continues to be felt.
During his vetting, Wamalwa promised to put on hold his political quest saying that he will not vie for any political seat in the next general election but contrary to his promise, he has used a number of public occasions ceremonies to organise his foot soldiers for a battle that he knows.
One of the NFK grassroots leaders said that Wamalwa was working with the government not because of his political survival but because he wants to build strong financial muscles and political capital in preparations for 2022 elections where he will go for the presidency.
It is believed that Wamalwa has shares in one of the local media houses in Western which controls 90pc of the total audience in the region and he has been using it to advance his political interests and those of his masters in the region.
The media house which owns a radio station, a TV channel, an online news portal and a weekly newspaper has been championing the Jubilee agenda since 2013 courtesy of Eugene who has since been pushing for businesses and advertisements from the government that has enabled the media house to grow and swell its coverage in Western and North Rift regions.
One of the most politically effective means to manipulate the media house in question was the appointment of its proprietor as an ambassador to a country in Africa thereby compromising the
independence of the media and it is believed that its employees have instructions not to air or publish any stories that are favourable to Eugene’s political rivals and opponents.
This is according to an insider working at the radio station who disclosed that owing to the partnership that the media house has with the Jubilee government, engineered by Water CS, the appointment of George Masafu as an ambassador to DRC is nothing but a reward for loyalty.
And who knows the media house might be scheming for more favours from the government and specifically from Wamalwa.
This is evident as most of the advertisements being carried out by the media house brands belong to public institutions like Kenya Seeds Company and IEBC while perceived Eugene’s political rivals get negative publicity from the said media house.
It is believed that revenue generated through those advertisements has enabled the media house establish a television channel and further increased its coverage.
It is believed that the media house has been creating ground for soft landing of Jubilee in western Kenya, something that has started raising eyebrows among residents with some of them threatening to stop listening to the radio station or read its publications since it has become clear that they have rolled out negative campaigns against politicians affiliated to Cord coalition in the region.
It should be understood that the same media house was used last year during the senatorial by-election in Bungoma county where it said that Musikari Kombo was going to win the seat with a landslide contrary to the final results which placed the current area senator Moses Wetang’ula at the top with a huge margin.
At the time, Kombo was flying the NFK party flag and was receiving huge support from the Jubilee government, with the area commandant being hosted regularly at the radio station telling residents to wait for celebrations as they had already won the senatorial seat, citing an opinion poll carried out by the same media house which had indicated that Kombo was going to win by at least 89pc of all votes casted.
After losing the Bungoma senatorial battle, Eugene using the media house, has started fighting the only Ford Kenya government-Trans Nzoia county government headed by Patrick Khaemba.
One of the Wamalwa’s handlers disclosed that NFK had already strategised on how they will capture the county’s gubernatorial seat on understanding that the party has huge support base in both Bungoma and Trans Nzoia counties with an overwhelming majority in Trans Nzoia county assembly which saw the county budget slashed by a huge margin in order to frustrate Khaemba’s development initiatives.
He said that plans have already been hatched and they know the person who will fly the party’s flag come 2017 and they are by now campaigning for him as he is not supposed to be in politics.
Close associate of now ambassador Masafu, told this writer that Mediamax network, owned by president Uhuru Kenyatta, wanted to buy the radio station but the deal backfired after middlemen, including CS Water set the price too high due to the notion that the son of Jomo had money pouring.
However, Weekly Citizen has learned that the appointment of Masafu to be Kenya ambassador to DRC was part of the bargain and the media house is now mandated to air only pro-government stories and politicians affiliated to Jubilee coalition.
Evidently, last month in Bungoma county, more than 20 patients died at the county referral hospital owing to lack of drugs and medical staff but as other media houses were covering the predicament of the residents who were not getting quality services at the facility, the procured media house was airing a discussion on the personal life of Khaemba claiming that the county chief was a regular visitor of Uasin Gishu county where his second home is located and that he has not married form the Luhya community and thus not fit to lead the community.
Since 2013, the said media house has given Trans Nzoia county coverage blackout, with many of its reporters publicly admitting that they have been given instructions not to cover any politicians from Ford Kenya party be it in Bungoma or Trans Nzoia until their governor in waiting, Eugene Wamalwa, assumes office in 2017.
“We are not supposed to air any positive story about Trans Nzoia county government especially governor Khaemba, our governor is coming and we are waiting for him,” he said.
Residents have now threatened to sue the media house if it continues discussing personal life of their governor saying that Bungoma people did not vote for him and that they should allow Trans Nzoia people to decide for themselves and chart their own destiny.
Last week, residents of Kitalale, Kinyoro and Kisawai demonstrated over poor road network, but surprisingly even though the road is under the national government, the media house went ahead and reported that
residents were protesting over poor leadership of Governor Khaemba and that he has failed to repair roads prompting some residents to call-in during a morning radio show telling the presenter to stop lying as they were demonstrating against the area MP’s failure to tarmac the roads and not the county government.
Another case is where matatu operators and other businesspersons were demonstrating in Kitale town over a move by certain businessperson to force their way back to area designated for the construction of a modern bus stage.
The demonstrators were carrying a coffin with the name of a matatu operator painted on it but the reporter attached to the media house reported that the coffin had the name of Khaemba; a story that was criticised by other journalists.
It should also be noted that in early June, during a demonstration ostensibly sponsored by New Ford Kenya operatives in cahoots with contractors where a journalist was injured, the media house reported that Khaemba unleashed terror on journalists beating up four of them yet eye witnesses claimed only one was beaten by demonstrators.
Some of them was rushed to court to institute legal proceedings against the county government.
Recently, during a funds drive in Kiminini in aid of St Brigids Girls’ High School hosted by area MP Chris Wama lwa and Khaemba, the media house refused to include Khaemba’s name in their reporting and further edited photographs to ensure that the governor did not appear anywhere in their newspaper and the online news portal, a move that astonished even other politicians who attended the
Some residents of Trans Nzoia have written to the Media Council and the Communication Authority of Kenya complaining about the media house’s conduct and called upon the regulator to investigate ethical
and professional conduct of employees of the media house.
To rubber stamp the point, during the burial of Ivan Makari son to the secretary general of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and former Trade minister Mukhisa Kituyi, Eugene was quoted as saying that Luhyas should come together under one umbrella to chart the political future of the community, reiterating the point that nobody can forget his old shoes and that it is high time the community moved from rhetoric to practical actions.
Now residents are waiting to see if Eugene’s underground strategy of using media to discredit Khaemba and other FK politicians will work considering that Ford Kenya party leader Moses Wetang’ula has also established a radio station in Bungoma town which is turning out to be balanced in its reporting and it is rapidly attracting a strong audience.
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