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Citizen Weekly

Sunday 31 August 2014


The late Michael Christopher Wamalwa Kijana once said: “If my personal interests are going to subject the children of Kenya to any more suffering, then a way should be found of getting rid of me and my personal interests”.

Amid political woes and motley problems of facing the Luhya, Musikari Kombo, Wamalwa’s immediate successor of Ford Kenya party chairman walked to the late’s home during his tenth memorial service last weekend, snubbed Ford Kenya leader and leader of minority in the Senate Moses Wetangula who was sandwiched by Trans Nzoia governor Patrick Khaemba on his left and host MP Chris Wamalwa with Tongaren MP Eseli Simiyu on the far right all Cord coalition leaders,  sparking off spontaneous outburst from the crowd that prevailed upon an interpretation of an elusive Luhya unity that seems to be far.

Having read the spirit in the air, Budalangi MP Ababu Namwamba took the initiative of parading Luhya party leaders Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya), Eugene Wamalwa (F/K), Musalia Mudavadi (UDF) and Musikari Kombo who was beaten twice in Bungoma senatorial by-election by Wetang’ula, amid cheers from the crowd as a show of unity.

 Even as leaders called for the elusive Luhya unity, the joining of hands between Cord and Amani leaders at the late Wamalwa’s memorial service seemed cosmetic as Eugene was quoted in one of the dailies firing salvos at Wetang’ula for holding grip in Cord yet according to him, Raila is not trusted. Wamalwa challenged Wetang’ula as a senior lawyer to interpret the constitution on why the referendum can be avoided but solve the issues raised by Cord amicably.

 However, in more than one way, Wetang’ula amid the pro and anti-referendum speeches at the service, sold his referendum agenda with explanations and maintained that the three Cord principals Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and himself have open chances for vying for the presidency and there is no preferred candidate for Cord’s flagbearer, insisting that he will not quit Cord.

Instead, Wetang’ula advised Western MPs in ODM to strengthen their party in the region and in case of dissatisfaction, then they should join Ford Kenya, an affiliate of Cord which was open for them. Wetang’ula said the hardliner stance on dialogue by the Jubilee government to the detriment of devolution implementation prompted the need for a referendum, adding that the Jubilee government has boxed itself into a combative stance when what they needed most was astute dialogue.  He said the referendum is the ultimate trump card in this contest where Kenyans are mere pawns.

Kiminini MP Chris said the fundamental failures of the Jubilee government were the root causes of the frustration of devolution where Jubilee has roundly become the subject of ridicule over their low capacity as they struggle to come to grips with their mandate.

Having adjudged in the court of public opinion with barrage of criticisms over his conduct at the memorial service of a leader respected across continents, Kombo avoided any comment on Luhya unity but instead went on praising the late Wamalwa.

The preparation of the memorial service was in itself a charm offensive to the spirit of unity that the late VP enhanced where he brought together all the MPs in the region save for the then Nambale MP Chris Okemo who stuck with President Moi’s Kanu party. Whereas Ford Kenya party under Wetang’ula would have been the key pillar in the preparations of Wamalwa memorial since the late was the party boss, Eugene of New Ford Kenya organised it.

Conspicuously absent was the immediate family including Wamalwa’s widow Yvonne Wamalwa, son Jabali Wamalwa and last born daughter Chichi Wamalwa. Other key leaders who kept low profile on Wamalwa memorial service is the former VP Moody Awori who succeeded the late Wamalwa as VP after his demise and Kakamega senator Bonny Khalwale. This in itself is crystal clear evidence that whereas Wamalwa died a hero, his grave site has been reduced to a dais of proxy wars of a regional enclave with organisers putting on brave faces to depict a united front.

Seemingly, ugly politics of “betrayal and sycophancy” is playing out in Western region threatening to expose the ugly underbelly of politicians bankrolled by mighty powers to form splinter force in the region.

This comes at the backdrop of what pundits argue to be a spirited campaign for the community’s unity that has been elusive for long. Western has for the whole of its history remained on unkind side of history- prominent with division and infightings that have rendered it a laughing stock.

 The trend is however, already mushrooming early in the game as big forces plan for an early attempt for the presidency, a move that has attracted a secret plan for a coup by local leadership.
This comes at time when the region is nursing bitter wounds of division that have sent it to the political cold.

The Federal party boss Cyrus Jirongo and Kenneth Marende are crisscrossing the region with an aim of uniting its people  ahead of 2017.

Cotu boss Francis Atwoli has also indicated that his mission for united community is unstoppable even after the union was dragged into the region’s politics in the concluded election.
The top leadership is however, making it a top secret about the vehicle the community will use and its flagbearer as a plot to put the community’s vote into a single basket takes shape.

The mission comes at the backdrop of Musalia Mudavadi’s declaration that his bid for presidency come 2017 is alive.

 Eugene is however holding his cards close to the chest as far as the unity ahead of the elections enter preliminary stage with rumour that he is to be offered a state job to counter Wetang’ula’s rising popularity in the region now that Wetang’ula has formed a strong team in the region to spearhead referendum campaigns that if successful will leave Wetang’ula calling the shots in Luhyaland. But Mudavadi is not a pushover. He is an experienced politician, calculative and a darling of many, described as a sober politician.

However, Wetang’ula is also said to be marshalling forces across the country as he flexes his muscle for the presidential flagbearer in Cord amongst seasoned politicians Raila and Kalonzo. He has on various occasions called on the community  to register in big numbers to endear him for his first stab depending on his bargaining prowess with Luhya community.

During the burial of the late Lurambi MP Masinde Welengai, local leaders castigated the alleged move by a section of MPs in the ruling Jubilee government of trying to intimidate the unity of the community. The leaders said that the move by a section of local MPs being used as spoilers are alive and reality and threatened to unearth the individuals under the payroll of some top Jubilee leadership.

Lugari MP Ayub Savula found himself on the receiving end after a section of leaders described him as a ‘traitor’ before his constituents.
The MP, a first-timer, is said to be in a plot to prepare the Deputy President William Ruto a landing space for his 2017 bid.

Word has been going round that Ruto is heavily funding a section of local leadership for his campaigns come the next elections.
Savula has not come out clear on the weighty allegations leveled against him.  Savula’s statement in Busia county which generated heated debate and criticism after he chided the ability and potentiality of Luhya leaders to create a formidable force ahead of the elections.

The outspoken Kakamega county senator, Khalwale took issue with the MP terming his utterances and insinuation as a slap on the community’s face.
“How can one of us undermine the local leadership yet he has been groomed into what he is by the very leaders,’, said Khalwale during the burial of the late Lurambi MP.

The late Welengai was eulogised as selfless leader whose core interest was to serve the electorate.

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