Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) secretary general Francis Atwoli has disagreed with Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula over the community's search for its spokesperson.
Atwoli refuted Wetangula's views that he is trying to impose a leader on the Luhya community by naming the spokesperson.
"I have read with consternation reports attributed to Ford Kenya Party Leader who is also the Senate Minority Leader Senator Moses Wetangula that I am trying to impose a leader on the Luhya community without any mandate nor consultations from the community's political leadership and members," Atwoli told The Standard on phone.
He also denied allegations that he has been pushing for the idea of the community's spokesperson alone.
"For the records, I have never been alone in this initiative since in 2012 I flew Senator Moses Wetangula, Cyrus Jirongo and Musalia Mudavadi to the Maasai Mara where we held intensive consultations on how the community could identify one leader among them as its spokesperson.
It is on record that these discussions could not end at the Maasai Mara but had to be extended for the purposes of building consensus," Atwoli said.
He also revealed that on August 18th, 2013 he had breakfast with Wetangula and fully briefed him on the research to be undertaken by the University of Nairobi in identifying the community's spokesperson.
"In September this year, I met him at my private residence in Kajiado County to talk about the same and it is wrong for him to claim that this is a personal initiative for it is a Luhya community initiative.
I have the backing of the majority of Luhyas whom it has taken over 50 years to identify a leader without success and I am optimistic that this Saturday, we will name the community's spokesperson," Atwoli said.
He noted the process to identify the spokesperson has been transparent and subject to criticism and Kenya being a democracy.
"It would be wrong to force anyone to support the person so chosen and equally we are not forcing anyone to join us at Bukhungu stadium since you Wtangula can as well sit home and follow the proceedings on live television and we will respect his choice as well," the secretary general said.
Atwoli said he is dismayed t Wetangula's about-turn on the matter and denied that he has been sponsored by a political party. He added that he has helped Wetangula in his political life and wonders why he is growing cold feet.
"Personally, I hold Wetangula with much respect as a personal friend whom I have supported over the years in politics and secondly as one of the senior most political leader from my community leading a party from the region.
It is not true that Wetangula and any other person of similar view are strangers to the initiative that I am undertaking to identify the most popular Luhya political leader to negotiate on behalf of the community with the rest of the leaders," Atwoli said.
He added, "Secondly I don't work for any political party be it Ford Kenya, Amani National Congress or any other in the region but I have been working closely with all politicians from the region in their individual capacities together with the western Kenya council of elders and other opinion leaders whom we have walked together in our efforts to identify the cited leader."
He noted the Luhya community need unity more than ever before. "We are tired of being called names and fought day and night by people who don't even deserve such status.
It is time for politicians in the region to celebrate this initiative because it will give a community a firm foundation build on the unity of purpose where the chosen political leader will carry the community's obligation and mandate to the rest of the country," Atwoli said.