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Luhya leaders dismiss Mudavadi as Atwoli's spokesman

By John Shilitsa | Published Sun, January 8th 2017 at 10:56, Updated January 8th 2017 at 11:00 GMT +3
Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi (left) with Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa during the funeral service for former MP Mark Too last week. [PHOTO: WILBERFORCE OKWIRI/Standard]

The crowning of Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi as the Luhya spokesperson is proving just an another futile attempt to unite the community.

Politicians allied to Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang'ula are plotting a move to counter Mudavadi's new role and influence.

A Luhya elders' forum headed by Patrick Wangati, who is a Ford Kenya Nominated MP, has convened a meeting to deliberate on Mudavadi's elevated status, which Wangati says could split the people further instead of uniting them.

The forum convenes on January 13 to discuss the matter and possibly give a political direction that many commentators say could complicate things.

Already, Wetang'ula, Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale, Bungoma Governor Kenneth Lusaka, several legislators and some Luhya elders have chided the naming of Mudavadi as the region's pointman.

Wetang'ula has complained the process to pick the community's spokesperson was short of consultation and consensus.

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"Atwoli might as well have Mudavadi as his personal spokesman," he said.

In fact, Wetang'ula and Khalwale snubbed the so-called crowning organised by Cotu Secertary General Francis Atwoli.

And leaders allied to Jubilee Party will not have anything to do with those who do not share their interests. Governor Lusaka refused to be dragged into the matter "as my focus is on popularising Jubilee Party in Western towards 2017 elections".

Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali, also a JP supporter, said Mudavadi would only get their support if he shelved his presidential ambition in support of President Uhuru Kenyatta's second bid.

"I have no problem so long as Mudavadi's name will not be on the ballot because we must guide our people in the right direction," Washiali said.

A local political activist, Martin Andati, is of the view that Atwoli rushed things when he should have created room for thorough consultations. He said a decision to give Mudavadi the community spokesperson mantle could backfire in the long run.

"We are looking at a scenario where Mudavadi's competitors could just wreck everything," observes Andati.

But Mudavadi told The Standard on Sunday that he would reach out to all leaders from the region and ensure Western speaks with one voice during and after the elections.

He noted that the unity of Western people calls for concerted efforts from both leaders and locals. "I will need support as we begin to tighten the loose ends towards uniting our people," Mudavadi said.

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Funyula MP Paul Otuoma believe Atwoli did the right thing by taking initiative to give the community a point man.

Oparanya said the community must rally behind Mudavadi to have bigger bargaining space in Kenya's politics, especially when it comes to picking the Opposition presidential candidate.

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