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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 3 May 2015

TWISTS AND TURNS IN LUHYIA POLITICS


Jubilee government has set its eyes on the rich Western region vote bloc in earnest for the 2017 general elections. The question however is, will the Luhya community desert the opposition and vote for Uhuru Kenyatta?
Two factors are bound to tilt the equation. First are appointments in key government portfolios. However, going by the recent state corporations’ appointments in which Eugene Wamalwa was elevated to the cabinet, Uhuru seems to have miscalculated his political mathematics in Luhyaland. It is only the nomination of Eugene that happens to have been well calculated.
If Uhuru thought he would win the bloc by appointing politicians he may as well have goofed. Among those Uhuru appointed are Soita Shitanda, Musikari Kombo, Joash Wamang’oli and Susan Wakhung’u.
Wamang’oli is to chair Nzoia Sugar Board and his appointment has generated a lot of heat and disenchantment among farmers who claim he looted Nzoia Outgrowers Company while he was chairman.
Politically, Shitanda factor in Kakamega county politics and to his bastion of Malava constituency has diminished immensely. He ran for governorship seat in 2013 and lost to Wycliffe Oparanya. He is said to be planning another stab to contest Malava parliamentary seat currently held by Malulu Injendi. We have information that the appointment of Soita and Wamang’oli had the blessings of Wamalwa and Bungoma governor Kenneth Lusaka.
But perhaps, it is the appointment of Susan Wakhung’u as non-executive chairperson of Kenya Yearbook Editorial that is the talk of the country.
She is the sister of former vice president Moody Awori and mother of Judy Wakhung’u, the cabinet secretary of Environment. Uhuru, it is said, is openly favouring certain families.
Susan’s name featured prominently in a scam to fleece National Cereal Produce Board sometimes back. A firm that never delivered maize was to be paid billions after a protracted court battle.
The appointment of Raphael Wanjala, the former Budalangi MP and a confidante of Eugene as a director Nzoia Sugar has left many guessing. Wanjala is now married to Joyce Akinyi. Akinyi has been on the wrong side of the law on matters relating to drug trafficking. At one time, Wanjala and Akinyi were arrested and spent months in prison in India. Politically, Wanjala has failed to dislodge Ababu Namwamba as Budalangi MP.
Also named on Nzoia Board are Kenneth Chumo, Mary Nawire, Rebecca Mulongo and John Chikati. Chikati is close to Mudavadi.
Kombo is the chairman of Water Services Board. Insiders say his appointment is aimed at countering Senator Moses Wetang’ula in Bungoma county. Wetang’ula is a principal player in Cord. He defeated Kombo in 2013 and come a by-election, Kombo was also shown the dust. Since the emergence of Wamalwa in Luhya politics, Kombo has been consigned to the periphery.
Other Luhyas who landed slots are Marit Ligaga (Athi Water Services Board), Hudson Liyai (Jomo Kenyatta Foundation), Winingilo Walubengo (Pipeline Corporation), Namada Simani (Kenya Electricity Transmission), Pacifice Wekesa (National Irrigation Board) among others.
The recent appointments happened just after Noah Wekesa was named chairman of Bukura Agricultural Institute. Chris Okemo declined a slot in Kenya Seed Board where he was named a member.
We have further gathered information Uhuru plans to lure Mudavadi and Wamalwa to dissolve their parties and join Jap. Whereas Wamalwa may agree going by the recent appointments of his cronies in New Ford Kenya to state jobs, Mudavadi is unlikely to.
He has registered his Amani National Congress after a section in Jubilee started using UDF officials to undermine him.
Second is Mudavadi’s factor in 2017. He is said to be seriously laying out strategies to go for presidential seat for the second time. He has unveiled a rebranded outfit on which to ride on for the presidency in the name of ANC.