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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 14 December 2014

FRESH LUHYA UNITY TALKS BID HANGS IN BALANCE

The much-touted Luhya political leaders’ meeting slated for Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega county next week hangs in the balance with a lot of uncertainty on whether it will take off or not.
The meeting is the brainchild of Lugari MP Ayub Sabula. Apart from politicians, it was to bring together professionals from the Western province counties and even those living in the diasporas.
Informed sources say that the main agenda was to chart the political future of the community and work on modalities of identifying the region presidential flagbearer come 2017.
The organisers had in mind Cotu secretary-general Francis Atwoli to be the mediator and facilitator. However, from the look of things, Atwoli has abandoned the move.
Apart from Atwoli, others who are expected to be present are former deputy prime minister Musalia Mudavadi, former speaker Kenneth Marende, Soita Shitanda, Cyrus Jirongo, Moody Awori, Eugene Wamalwa, Noah Wekesa among others.
Suspicion has been high since the idea was floated. Atwoli and Jirongo are said to have read political mischief in the scheme. They saw the hand of Deputy President William Ruto in the whole idea. “This is a Ruto project aimed at dividing Luhya’s future,” one of the professionals invited quipped.
Others say that since the idea was mooted by Savula who is in parliament on United Democratic Front associated with Mudavadi, he was out to endorse him as the community spokesman.
Our investigations reveal not many of the current politicians occupying slots at parliament, county, senate have not been involved in the preparations, casting aspersions as to the motive of the meeting besides the reasons given as unity.
Vihiga county has Moses Ephantus Akaranga as governor. The MPs are Chris Omulele (ODM) Luanda, Wilberforce Otichilo (ODM) Emuhaya, Charles Gimose (FPK) Hamisi, Yusuf Chanzu (UDF) Vihiga and Alfred Agoi (UDF) Sabatia. The women representative is Dorcas Kedogo (ODM). Sources say, majority of the above politicians have not been involved in the organisation and may decide to skip the function.
Senator George Khaniri, an ally of Savula in social circles is said to be skeptical about the unity talks.
In Kakamega county, which is the hometurf of Savula, politicians are divided. The governor is Wycliffe Oparanya. Likuyani has Enock Kibunguchi (ODM) as MP. Moses Malulu (ODM) Malava, Raphael Otaalo (ODM) Lurambi, Emmanuel Wangwe (UDF) Navakholo, Niacca Johnston (ODM) Mumias West, Benjamin Washiali (UDF) Mumias East, David Were (NFK) Matungu, Andrew Toboso (ODM) Butere, Benjamin Andola (ODM) Khwisero, Silvester Lisamula (ODM) Shinyalu and Shinali Bernard (UDF) Ikolomani. Bonnie Khalwale is the senator with Rachael Amolo is the women representative on ODM.
Khalwale, sources say, has dismissed the meeting as childish with no clear agenda.
Busia MPs John Bunyasi (UDF) Nambale, Geoffrey Makokha (ODM) Matayos, Michael Onyura (FPK) Butula, Paul Otuoma (ODM) Funyula and Ababu Namwamba (ODM) Budalangi are not eager to be present either. Amos Wako is the senator with Ojaamong the county governor. Florence Mutua is women rep on ODM.
Ruto party URP has two parliamentary seats in Teso sub-county occupied by Arthur Odera (Teso North) and Mary Emaase Teso South.
The complex nature in Bungoma politics with camps emerging is bound to affect the Kakamega unity talks.
There has been no political heat in Bungoma county nearly two years down the line after the general elections.
The scenario was however highly activated by the hotly contested senatorial by-election pitting arch-rivals Musikari Kombo and Moses Wetang’ula that saw New Ford Kenya party leader Eugene Wamalwa dragged into the war sending the former local government minister into political doldrums.
The brand new kids on block have now pulled off their gloves for the battle that will define political events in the county through to the next polls. At the moment, they are jostling for the Matumbei ward seat left vacant following the death of Ronald Matongolo.
The under-the-carpet war between Bungoma governor Kenneth Lusaka and greenhorn Wycliffe Wangamati, however, seems to be attracting attention and momentum with time, opines pundits. The battle is, however, argued to have dragged in political heavyweights of Eugene Wamalwa of New Ford Kenya party and Moses Wetang’ula of Ford Kenya into the fray to salvage their political “kids”.
Pundits have been fast to reveal that the young Wangamati is Wetangula’s project in the offing ahead of 2017 politics as Wamalwa rely on Lusaka to progress his political agenda after he failed to get into politics in the last general elections.
Wamalwa who is out has been entangled in political wars with Wetang’ula hence the emergence of Lusaka into active politics to salvage his agenda. The war has now been withdrawn from the feet of the two kingpins and spilled to the young politicians’ grip currently pursuing their agenda with strong allegiance to their masters. Political overtones marred a fundraiser in Kimatuni Church in Bungoma county after governor Lusaka clashed with a greenhorn politician, Wangamati sending the congregation into panic. Wangamati almost wetted his pants as those present heckled his allies.
The two who met for the first time in the same forum took the opportunity to pull their dangerous arsenal to outshine each other as their political sidekicks clamped each other.
Wamalwa who accompanied Lusaka told young Wangamati to consider going for senatorial position currently occupied by the minority leader in the senate Wetang’ula.
The move is pegged on the understanding that Wetang’ula will be going for the top office in the land in the next-general elections hence, leaving a gap in the gubernatorial seat.
In a rejoinder, Wangamati withdrew his earlier position and called off the bid for the governorship in the third largest county. “I am just an investor in the county and I am not keen in the seat,’’ said Wangamati.
Keen political observers argue that young Wangamati could just be warming the seat for Wetang’ula who has been in the recent past keen with governor’s seat on discovering the gap between grassroots contact and senate seat. This is on the grounds that both Wetang’ula and Wangamati come from Kabuchai constituency and cannot occupy two powerful seats after 2017.
Further, to complicate matters for Wangamati are claims his father, a nominated MP is also eyeing the same slot after the next polls.
As things stand, the entrance of Wangamati has solidified Amutalla vote behind Lusaka with claims the Sudi vote want to shortchange them. The issue of one area having a senator, nominated MP and governor has emerged. Amtalla vote bloc which is populous consists of Kimilili, Tongaren, Webuye East and West. They are always in a deal with Mt Elgon. The Sudi side has Kanduyi, Sirisia, Bumula and Kabuchai.Wetang’ula is from Sudi side while Lusaka from Amtalla. Analysts say that Wangamati has politically miscalculated his bid and has to go back to the drawing board. To make matters worse for him is the fact that Wafula Wamunyinyi is set to run for governorship.
During a burial of his political ally, Austine Wafula in Bumula constituency, Wetang’ula introduced Wangamati to the public hinting that he will be going for the seat.
“You know that Wangamati has assembled his bells and he is preparing for the rite,’’ said Wetang’ula said in Bukusu dialect, a move seen as an open endorsement of his candidature to run against Lusaka in the forthcoming polls.
Lusaka was absent on a trip to France. The sentiments by Wetang’ula have been received with diverse opinions with a number predicting a sour relations between the duo in the county top leadership. “That will hurt cordial relations between the two since one seems to have pulled out the sword for the other. We, however, wish that it does not affect service delivery in the county through unending feuds and confrontations that has been witnessed in he past,’’ said Julius Bakasa , former Bungoma county council chairman and a shrewd political schemer allied to Lusaka camp.
At the fundraiser, Lusaka shelved the 2017 politics ignited by political activists Jack Wamboka and Trans-Nzoia county government political adviser Moses Mwambu and instead stuck to his development scorecard that he said will be judged by the voters in the polls. Wamboka is out to oppose the current Bumula Boniface Ostyula.
New Ford Kenya leader Wamalwa has come out fighting in defence of the  Bungoma county government and if what transpired at the weekend church fundraiser at Kimatuni Catholic Church in Bumula constituency is anything to go by then there is every reason to believe that the New Ford Kenya chief will stop at nothing when it comes to any criticisms of the Bungoma county government which is under the governor from his NFK party and dominated by county assembly members from his political outfit.
Unfortunately for Wamalwa and Lusaka, the NFK MP for Bumula  gave the function a wide berth. Only the Bumula county assembly member Henry Nyongesa made a spirited attempt to defend the Lusaka administration but the apparently restless audience at the event could hear none of it.
As part of his address Eugene, apologised to Bumula people for supporting an NFK senatorial candidate, Kombo against Wetang’ula’s candidature in a by-election, but invoked a twist to his assertion that in the 2017 election, he would ensure that the gubernatorial seat remains at the upper part of the county commonly referred to as wa Amutala while the senators seat remains a reserve of the lower part referred to as wa Sudi.