CS Eugene flees angry crowd, as 2022 politics dominate Maragoli Cultural Festivals

Vihiga residents scamper for safety when Water CS Eugene Wamalwa's security shot in the air. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]
Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa was forced to flee from a hostile crowd during the annual Maragoli Cultural Festival at Mbale grounds.

Mr Wamalwa's security detail had to shoot in the air to create a way out for him when a group of angry people started pelting his motorcade with stones. Some people caught up in the commotion sustained minor injuries. 

Mr Wamalwa arrived at the grounds at around 3pm, when Amani National Congress party leader Musalia Mudavadi was addressing the crowd. The crowd turned hostile.

Attempts by Mr Mudavadi to calm down the crowd fell on deaf ears as a section of the people demanded that Wamalwa should leave.

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“We do not want Jubilee here. Wamalwa must go before the cultural event continues,” an angry youth shouted.

It took the intervention of Central Organisation for Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary General Francis Atwoli, Mr Mudavadi and several other leaders to whisk Wamalwa to his vehicle.

He only sat at the dais for three minutes, with the crowd increasingly becoming hostile and pelting stones, which led to Mudavadi escorting him to his vehicle amid heavy police security.  

 The cultural event had been skipped by leaders from the county who joined Jubilee, including former Governor Moses Akaranga and former Vihiga MP Yusuf Chanzu. 

Leaders later condemned the reaction of Wamalwa's security detail.

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Mudavadi said it was unfortunate that Wamalwa had attended the event uninvited with the sole purpose of disrupting it.

“Why shoot at a crowd that has created a pathway for your exit? This is display of impunity in Jubilee leadership,” leaders said in a statement.

Vihiga Woman Representative Beatrice Adagala said Eugene miscalculated and should have consulted his Jubilee friends from the region before making the move.

During the event, leaders called on National Super Alliance to swear in Raila Odinga, so that he can pave way for Mudavadi in 2022.

ANC MPs Alfred Agoi (Sabatia), Omboko Milemba (Emuhaya), Ernest Kivai (Vihiga), Ayub Savula (Lugari), Titus Khamala (Lurambi), Justus Murunga (Matungu) and Adagala said they had been patient enough and would not support Raila in 2022.

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“When we made Mudavadi the Luhya spokesperson, we gave him the mandate to join Raila and work with him to deliver the presidency this year. Whether Raila is sworn in or not, 2022 we are supporting Mudavadi,” Savula said.

Savula said if Mudavadi would go against their will in 2022, he should cease being a Luhya leader and they would deal with him.

Agoi said the region was behind Raila Odinga at least until 2022, noting they would cut deals with him to fully support Mudavadi.

Meanwhile, Mudavadi has vowed not to be swayed from championing reforms for electoral justice.

Mudavadi said he had been approached by leaders from Jubilee and some from Opposition to abandon calls for reforms.

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He was speaking in Butula, Busia County, on Sunday during a traditional ceremony in his honour attended by MPs from the Western region.

“Some in NASA and Jubilee are pleading with me to abandon the reform train. They don’t know what steel I am made from... Let me assure you I cannot jump off this electoral justice reform train into an empty cattle carriage," Mudavadi said.

Eugene WamalwaCultural Festivalsmusalia mudavadi