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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Namwamba plot on Western Luhya politics sparks suspicions

 Confusion has gripped Luhya politics following the creation of an amorphous lobby group of MPs purporting to be crafting a united front for the fragmented community to go into future elections as a united force to compete and match other big tribes that have historically outmaneuvered them in the pursuit for national leadership.
The Western Parliamentary Caucus whose main convenor is the troubled ODM secretary general Ababu Namwamba  of Budalangi held its inaugural meeting in Busia two weeks ago and followed it with a much publicised one at Sossa Cottages on the outskirts of Mbale town in Vihiga county which they spiced with ornamental tours to financially struggling Mudete Tea Factory and Mumias Sugar Company in Vihiga and Kakamega counties respectively.
Area residents are afraid that the authors and sponsors of WPC plus its key actors could be merely replaying “the political curse of Western”  where key political princes have mysteriously converted into political mercenaries serving the interests of outside godfathers in exchange for money and other selfish favours, hence frustrating Luhya, Teso and Sabaot peoples’ genuine political interests.
Bad past examples cited in this category of “egocentric-driven” top sons of Western include: Cyrus Jirongo, Musalia Mudavadi, Martin Shikuku, Wamalwa Kijana,  Amukowa Anangwe, Eugene Wamalwa and Apili Wawire. They are remembered for putting up strong campaigns pretending to drive the agenda of capturing the presidency for the community only to auction it to the highest bidders from outside.
Surprisingly, when their mistakes and tricks have landed them in trouble, they have always come back home crying that they are being fought by powerful, outside forces within government. Some have even tried to invoke the “Luhyas are being finished or targeted” blackmail to survive the consequences of their folly.
Though the spindoctors behind the WPC drive have projected the less colourful Malava MP Injendi Malulu as the secretary and Nambale MP John Bunyasi as the chairman, it has emerged that it is coined strategically to serve the regional interests of Namwamba who is frantically pushing for an exit strategy out of ODM at the behest of outside non-Luhya courtiers believed to be from President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Mt Kenya region.
The restless MP is on record in recent days claiming that his troubles in the Public Accounts Committee was the work of enemies within his own ODM party who wanted to tarnish his name before hounding him out of his coveted seat as the Orange party secretary general. But in a rather confused but tactical move, he has of late adopted a chorus claiming that his woes are being instigated by corruption cartels within government who were scared of “his gallant fight against the vice”.
Influential opinion leaders in Western, however, are pointing out that Namwamba’s latest change of rhetoric could be a clever move to hoodwink opposition supporters in the area to extend to him the much needed political sympathies, wrongly believing that he is a fiery, “reform-minded son of the soil” whom they can support to articulate the needs, grievances and articulations of the politically disadvantaged community.
What is raising eyebrows, however, is the easy coming together of known western political merchant formations within the parliamentary group that are openly allied to the two Jubilee coalition factions and disciples of past elite Luhya political mercenaries who have in past decades scavenged and destroyed the community’s political pursuits and interests in exchange for freebies, political handouts and self gain at the expense of the people.
Within the group are MPs known to be on the side of Deputy President William Ruto led by Lugari MP Ayub Savula, who only recently sensationally claimed to be preparing to be Ruto’s presidential running mate in 2022. His subsequent, highly publicised, campaign to register 6 million Luhya voters for 2017 general elections has been mired in suspicions that it is bankrolled by the deputy president as it is aimed at auctioning the community politically to help him oppose his boss, Uhuru come 2017.
MPs known to align with Savula in pushing the “Ruto Agenda” in Luhya politics towards 2017 include Injendi Malulu (Malava), Dan Wanyama (Webuye), Yussuf Chanzu (Vihiga), Ben Washiali (Mumias), Raphael Otaalo (Navakholo), Peter Odero (Teso), Mary Emase (Teso), John Serut (Mt Elgon) and John Waluke (Sirisia).
For a long time, Namwamba was known to be a DP Ruto disciple in Western but for still unclear reasons, he has fallen out with the Ruto camp and quietly drifted to the TNA wing of Jubilee led by Uhuru. It is said Jubilee actively bankrolled his high octane campaigns for ODM secretary generalship which degenerated into an open insurgency to supplant and displace Raila Odinga loyalists from the party top management to be replaced by Jubilee friendly officials and NEC members.
 Namwamba’s latest moves, complete with turning all public meetings to do personal image laundry painting himself as an innocent genuine anti-corruption crusader being haunted out of key positions including the Pac, followed in quick succession with a choreographed private visit to Iceland and Europe are being said to be part of a wider plot to market himself as Kenya’s parliamentary Mr Clean who needs international support.
 He hopes to use the subsequent “good press” in the Western capitals to gain new political traction in Luhyaland as a fall back plan as he exits from ODM to the Uhuru side ahead of 2017. It is highly speculated that the trip abroad could be secretly being sponsored by Jap mandarins working in the shadows for Uhuru.
Ordinarily, the MP would have been headed to the USA to undertake such an image laundry maneuver but close sources say he is unable after US charities blacklisted him after discovering that the millions of shillings in aid they sent him through his human rights NGO: “Chambers of Justice” some eight  to nine years ago which was embezzled.
Observers suspect that Uhuru is working overdrive to undercut Cord in Luhyaland and is pursuing  Namwamba to be his  poacher in Busia to add to the efforts of Eugene Wamalwa and Bungoma Governor Kenneth Lusaka in Bukusu land and Mudavadi, Anangwe, Washiali, Soita Shitanda and Kenneth Marende in Vihiga and Kakamega respectively. The effort is to cushion himself from any gap left incase DP Ruto decamps with the Kalenjin vote, come 2017.