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Musalia Mudavadi now named Luhya spokesman as leaders keep off

By John Shilitsa and Ignatius Odanga | Updated Sun, January 1st 2017 at 00:00 GMT +3
Amani National Congress Party leader Musalia Mudavadi addresses a rally at Bukhungu stadium in Kakamega after he was crowned as a Luhya community spokesperson. (Photo: Benjamin Sakwa)

Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi was yesterday unveiled as the Luhya spokesman in a function boycotted by several community leaders including CORD co-principal Moses Wetang’ula.

Mudavadi pledged to engage CORD co-principals Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Mr Wetang’ula in a quest to eject Jubilee from power.

“Now that you have given me a new role, I will go to look for Raila immediately we are finished with this event,” Mudavadi said.

The ANC leader also promised to seek an alliance with Baringo Senator Gideon Moi and Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto.

Mudavadi pledged to reach out to Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale, former Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo and former National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende who skipped the event.

Mudavadi was given the new role following a study conducted by University of Nairobi and Cotu secretary general Francis Atwoli on the most preferred spokesman from western.

The former deputy premier emerged the most popular person by 39 per cent beating Wetang’ula, Jirongo and Marende in an opinion poll conducted by the UoN Department of Political Science, Public Administration and Economic Studies.

Wetang’ula and Oparanya tied at 30 per cent while the remaining candidates garnered 1 per cent according to the pollster. “I accept this honour with humility and commitment. The task ahead is a tough one but I am ready to be your servant,” said Mudavadi in his acceptance speech at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega.

He noted that his endorsement as the region’s spokesperson marks a new political dispensation. “We must unite and become one thing for us to be respected by others and make an impact in the political leadership in Kenya.”

Mudavadi appealed to the constituents to support him in the quest to unite the Luhya.

“It is a huge task but if we remain together, we will achieve our goal and win respect, however, I will not manage it alone so I appeal for your unwavering support.”

The crowd broke in ululation immediately the secret envelop was opened and Mudavadi’s name called out as the preferred person to give the community political direction.

Elders led by Western region Elders Council chairman Philip Masinde asked Mudavadi to sit on a three legged traditional stool.

He donned a traditional regalia and was handed a spear and a fly whisk as he was installed as the spokesman of the Luhya.

Mr Atwoli read out the Bukhungu declaration affirming that any one from outside Western must go through Mudavadi to seek the Luhya support.

“We won’t take anyone serious who comes to look for political support without going through Mudavadi as the principal leader in this region,” said Atwoli.

The declaration also gave Mudavadi the go ahead to engage other political players on behalf of the region and to contest for presidency in 2017.

At the same time the Cotu boss accused Wetang’ula, Jirongo and Khalwale of defiance and hypocrisy.

“I have been supporting these politicians and we have held countless meetings in hotels and in my homes with view of bringing them together but despite agreeing to the efforts, they have always not walked the talk.”

He vowed to ensure voters reject MPs from Western who skipped the event. “I will go around asking the electorate to reject them and elect fresh minds who can champion the interests of our people.”

Mzee Masinde, promised to work with Mudavadi and asked leaders from the region to support him.

Everything went on smoothly as planned with Lurambi MP Rachael Otaalo ushering in his colleagues to address the people.

In attendance were legislators Otaalo (ODM), Ayub Savula (Lugari), John Bunyasi (Nambale), Alfred Agoi (Sabatia), Benjamin Andola (Khwisero), Yusuf Chanzu (Vihiga) and Charles Gemose (Hamisi).

Others were Paul Otuoma (Funyula) and Geoffrey Odanga (Matayos).

Mr Gemose had a rough time addressing the crowd due to his perceived affiliation to Jubilee Party.

Many MCAs from Western led by Mahiakalo Ward representative Cleophas Malala were in attendance.

Meanwhile, Jubilee allied leaders in Kakamega have dismissed Atwoli’s move to name the Luhya spokesman as ‘fake and failed’ project.

They said the naming of Mudavadi as the Luhya pointman will divide the community and urged residents to ignore the decision.

Speaking during a Jubilee rally at Shibale market in Mumias,  MPs Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East), Emmanuel Wangwe (Navakholo), David Were (Matungu), Bernard Shinali (Ikolomani), Malulu Injendi (Malava), and former ODM youth leader Rashid Mohamed among others claimed that Atwoli was being used by the Opposition to divide the community.

“The unveiling of the spokesman is a doomed project. The survey was fake because none of us was involved in it. Atwoli is being used by the Opposition to divide the community,” said Mr Washiali.

But Mudavadi through his spokesman Kibisu Kabatesi dismissed the Jubilee allies claims.

He denied allegations that the Bukhungu declaration was orchestrates by Raila.

“Washiali doesn’t understand research results. You don’t need 100 percent rating to beat an opponent. He should worry about his own dismal exit,” said Kibisu.

Other leaders who attended the Shibale rally were Prof Amukowa Anangwe and former Shinyalu MP Justus Kizito.