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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 19 October 2014

ENTRY OF WW IN BUNGOMA POLITICS SENDS LUSAKA INTO PANIC



Wycliffe Wangamati, popularly known as WW is becoming a household name in Bungoma county politics.
His move to invest in Bungoma county has politically intimidated Governor Kenneth Lusaka whose political camp has been jolted by internal conflicts signaling an impeding political tumult.
 Wangamati is son of nominated MP and Luhya Council of Elders chairman Patrick Wangamati.
After the promulgation of the new constitution and the devolution structures were put in place, Wangamati has chosen to invest in tourism in Bungoma county by opening a hotel and supermarket.
To endear himself to the locals Wangamati has in the recent past adopted an-open-door policy to his staff and the public. A break from tradition of handouts, Wangamati has chosen to create job opportunities to the county residents with a spiral effect to the nine sub-counties hence presenting change in a county that has been dragged down by the vexing problem of inept leadership and job scarcity.
Wangamati’s tactful relocation from the plush neighbourhoods to the dusty villages of Sang’alo, Naitiri, Bumula, Cheptais throws up a host of political possibilities for him, and it will be a sigh of relief for Governor Lusaka if  the son of chairman of the Luhya Council of Elders and nominated MP turns down the request from residents most of who voted for Lusaka to the man to vie for Bungoma gubernatorial seat.
Stung by the rising popularity of the youthful Wamangati, Lusaka has been in the past frantically studying any possibilities that could by any chance reclaim the lost glory and moral authority where initially dissent was crushed and opponents kept away.
With constant political pressure prevailing upon an interpretation of an army general losing his soldiers to the opponents, Lusaka has limited options; and his nerves are frayed given the popularity that Wangamati now wields.
Lusaka fell out with majority of MPs and MCAs from Bungoma county. Spontaneous outbursts have become common occurrence from elected leaders and disenchanted members of the public in the county owing to his style of leadership.
Months ago, the governor survived an impeachment after the leader of majority in the Bungoma county assembly Henry Okumu shelved a motion he had drafted of impeaching him as the first governor of the second largest county in Western region after Kakamega county.
Thus it has been strange though not surprising that members of parliament have been whizzing disturbingly in the face of Lusaka with his deficiencies laid bare. Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi recently wondered in the governor’s presence why he had pulled a surprise that may
haunt him to the grave by keeping silent despite having knowledge on few individuals who in a deliberate attempt grabbed the historic posta grounds. Wamunyinyi has since taken charge of all the protests against occupation of all public land in his Kanduyi constituency where the governor has been silent.
Tongaren MP Dr. Eseli Simiyu has on numerous occasions torn into governor Lusaka on skewed development programmes in his constituency where all the roads have been done by CDF including health facilities where the county government has done minimal development.
Bungoma senator Moses Wetang’ula has never had a cozy relationship with governor Lusaka either. On numerous occasions Wetang’ula has been opposed to mis-allocation of resources by the county government of Bungoma.
In 2012, Ken Makelo Lusaka popularly referred to as KLM burst into the political scene having resigned from the public service where he had served in several senior positions starting  as a . Several of his admires and critics dismissed his change of carrier as ill advised.  Makelo is a name with roots in Busia County.
However, in an unwavering determination, Lusaka defied all odds as a political new comer using his advantages as vilified for – flamboyance and elitist mien – to popularize his candidature for the gubernatorial seat and when campaign time came, Bungoma county residents were treated to perhaps the most well oiled contest between Lusaka former assistant minister Alfred Khang’ati and journalist Wabwoba Walinywa, he (Lusaka) buried his political nemesis with a land slide victory on a New Ford Kenya ticket associated with former cabinet minister Eugene Wamalwa. .
In moments of profound historical value, Lusaka became a household name, commanding writings on the walls of heroic exploits with an overwhelming 250,000 votes thereby wielding power.
Buoyed by his emphatic first win, his popularity and ego fought for space among top political leaders of the populous Bukusu community, rivaling the Bungoma senator Moses Wetang’ula after Eugene Wamalwa who was perceived the region’s kingpin failed to vie for any elective position in the 2013 March 4th  general elections.
Since he captured the Bungoma gubernatorial seat, Lusaka has continued making headlines, weathering monumental storms where he is now loved and hated in equal measure. Some of his actions have created a rift between his supporters and challengers, but he has always carried the day.
The county budget appropriation bill did not go without fireworks after hitting the national news over the alleged allocation of Sh500 million to fight pornography. At one moment, he responded to his critics in an interview on a local TV as malicious rumour by his critics. “This job is not easy, but all in all, we must deliver despite the challenges,” he said.
Majority leader Okumu has equally criticised Lusaka’s administration citing poor maintenance of roads in the county at the expense of the taxpayers. Several of Lusaka supporters during the campaign time have now turned against him on his style of leadership and as it stands out, the same supportive wave he enjoyed during campaign period last year is turning the tide.
Sex scandals have bedevilled the county officers with questions being raised of how certain forces have landed in plum positions. Tender awards and management style of those in charge is wanting and continue to raise eyebrows.
To show Lusaka is losing touch, even his party boss Wamalwa has been spotted in deep discussions with the young Wangamati in Nairobi based five-star hotels. Lusaka, a poor public speaker is accused of being an armchair governor and not in touch with happenings on ground.
We have information, bitter for failing to deliver services, the governor is to be heckled by locals during President Uhuru Kenyatta planned visit in the region. Uhuru is to award Kibabii University a charter to be a full fledged university.
Currently, the university is a constituent college of Masinde Muliro University based in Kakamega County. Lusaka boasts to be close to the president who attended his home-coming party only for Uhuru to end up being humiliated by Kakamega governor Bonnie Khalwale.
Those planning to disrupt the Kibabii function are said to be targeting Lusaka but not the president as it happened in Migori when Governor Okoth Obando was at the centre of the storm during a presidential function.
Insecurity is the order of the day in the county; the once vibrant sugar industry is collapsing as Lusaka watches. Roads are in bad state. Education standards are falling with locals openly cursing Lusaka whom they claim is a foreigner.
Local MPs have been complaining about the events in the county. Many are slowly weighing options and deserting Lusaka.
The MPs from the county are Suleiman Murunga (Kimilili), Dan Wanyama (Webuye West), Alfred Sambu (Webuye East), Otsyula Boniface (Bumula), John Waluke (Sirisia), James Lusweti (Kabuchai), John Serut (Mt Elgon), Eseli  Simiyu (Tongaren) and Wafula Wamunyinyi (Kanduyi).
 It is even whispered Wamunyinyi is under pressure to go for governorship. Another name being mentioned is that of Dr Mukhwana. In Nairobi, professionals have been meeting in an effort to monitor happenings on ground and work on future plans. Businessman Robert Watangwa has been instrumental in the talks that have seen Lusaka being condemned left and right.