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Citizen Weekly

Tuesday, 15 July 2014


Politics is expected to take centrestage at the burial of the late Selina Ikonango Jirongo “Musuba”, the mother of former minister Cyrus Jirongo.
Already, who is who is the country’s political terrain have joined the family in mourning the departed. Among those expected to be mourners-in-chief during the burial include deputy president William Ruto. It is not known whether president Uhuru Kenyatta will attend.

Although Jirongo himself wants politics relegated to the periphery during the requiem mass to be held on July 19 2014 at Lumakanda District Headquarters, going by events ahead of the day, political pronouncements will be made.
Politicians across the country are to attend and the Luhya factor in Jubilee and Cord is to feature prominently.
Currently, three camps exist in Luhya politics. One is allied to Jubilee government. It rotates around Musalia Mudavadi of UDF and Eugene Wamalwa of Ford-K. It is said, aware of the importance of Luhya vote, Uhuru has started openly pushing to have those allied to the government recognised.
His visit to Kakamega State Lodge last week signifies his new approach to the region’s politics. He hosted Muslim leaders for a dinner party in Kakamega something that has never happened before.
Then we have a second camp of Cord-leaning politicians. It is led by senators Boni Khalwale and Moses Wetangula.
The third group rotates around the neutrals and composes of faces pushing for Luhya presidency in 2017.
Already, a group of MPs from the community gravitating towards the Jubilee administration are now planning to form a new political party ahead of the next general election.  The leaders allied mainly to UDF and New Ford-Kenya say the Amani coalition is not being received well by voters in the region.
Lugari MP Ayub Savula was heckled recently when he defended the Jubilee government. The  Jubilee-allied MPs threatened to sever relations with Jubilee if it continues to “sideline our people from public appointments”. The MPs sympathetic to Jubilee are Savula, Emmanuel Wangwe of Navakholo, Bernard Shinali, Ikolomani, Alfred Agoi, Sabatia,Yusuf Chanzu of Vihiga and Benjamin Washiali  of Mumias East.
Major differences have emerged among leaders in the Amani coalition over their relations with the Jubilee administration.  The MPs are said to be rebelling against their leader Mudavadi over his plans to delink from Jubilee. Khalwale, a new face emerging in Luhya politics, has no time for the ruling Jubilee.
Mudavadi is said to be uncomfortable with Jubilee but is being held back by some of the MPs who have insisted that they will remain behind with Uhuru. The Maendeleo Democratic Party underwent rebranding and is now called Maendeleo Democratic Movement.  It is associated with Jirongo, former speaker Kenneth Marende, Soita Shitanda who argue that it is the right vehicle to bring all Luhya leaders together and eventually the entire community. Martin Andati, Kenneth Butiko are the officials. Andati defected from ODM where he was the Kakamega county secretary prior to the last general election. The Jirongo, Marende axis is neutral and is pushing for the community to back their own come 2017.
Central Organisation of Trade Unions secretary general Francis Atwoli has also been pushing for the formation of a new political party. The trade unionist was the convener of the teachers’ meeting at a Kakamega hotel where Savula was forced to cut his speech short.  Uhuru was in Bungoma during the homecoming ceremony of Governor Kenneth Lusaka.
Lusaka is emerging as the Jubilee face in the region together with his party boss Eugene. Cord leads in commanding support in the community and Bungoma senator Moses Wetang’ula is the pointman. The region has five counties, Kakamega, Vihiga, Bungoma, Busia and Trans Nzoia.
Not to be left behind are elders from the Luhya community preaching unity and for a Luhya to gun for the presidency in 2017. Luhya Elders Advisory Council secretary Barua Chele plans to meet Mudavadi, Wetang’ula, Jirongo, Marende and Khalwale to push the move.
When Uhuru attended the 25th memorial service of Mudavadi’s father, former minister Moses Mudavadi in Vihiga in February, politicians from the region took the opportunity to implore on the president to appoint Mudavadi to his cabinet. Uhuru was non-committal on the matter. In the other Uhuru visit to Western Kenya  during Lusaka’s homecoming, Khalwale criticised Uhuru to his face.