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Wamalwa, Mudavadi fight escalates as elders worry of new rivalry

By Standard Reporter | Published Sun, December 31st 2017 at 00:00, Updated December 31st 2017 at 14:31 GMT +3
Amani National Congress party leader Musalia Mudavadi escorts Water CS Eugene Wamalwa to safety when the irate crowd wanted him to leave the Maragoli Cultural festivals on Dec 26, 2017. Elders have absolved Mudavadi from chaos that erupted. [Eric Lungai, Standard]

Political differences between Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa and ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi have reached acrimonious levels as battle for Luhya leadership heightens. 

The supremacy battle took a new twist during a Luhya cultural event early in the week in Vihiga after Wamalwa was forced out of the venue.

Political leaders from the region led by Vihiga Governor Wilbur Ottichilo whose county hosted the festival and other legislators have blamed Mudavadi for what they termed ‘importation of political bad manners.’

“I have made it clear to everybody including the CS that as area governor, I was very unhappy with what happened. Wamalwa has always attended this important occasion just like other Mulembe people. This was indeed regrettable,” said the governor.

The incident could create bad blood between the Bukusu and the Maragoli.

Yesterday, the elders who organised the event wired an official apology to Wamalwa saying the incident was regrettable.

The letter referenced ‘Apology to you for what happened at Mbale on Dec 26th 2017’ reads in part: “On behalf of Vihiga Cultural Society, we the under signed, wish to express our deepest regret for what happened at Mbale on the occasion of annual Logooli cultural festival. You have been a regular visitor to this annual event. Unfortunately it so happened that this time round the crowd was unexpectedly hostile to you.”

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Yesterday, the CS confirmed to the Sunday Standard that he had indeed received the apology. “It is true I am in receipt of an official apology from our respectable wazee. What I can tell you is that I have accepted the apology from our elders but I will be issuing a major statement tomorrow. As a community we can’t lose the gains we have made over the last ten years in pursuit of Luhya unity. We honestly cannot allow such an unfortunate incident to reverse the progress we have achieved,” he said.

A section of politicians from Western including John Waluke, Mwambu Mabonga, Bifwoli Wakoli, Benjamin Washiali, Governor Ottichilo, Yusuf Chanzu and Janet Nangabo condemned the Mbale incident and thanked the elders for the apology to the CS. The leaders however demanded that Mudavadi issues an official apology to Wamalwa.

“We are demanding that Mudavadi personally offers an official apology to the CS and the entire Mulembe nation. The fact that everybody else was welcomed to the event including our luo neighbours and we could chase away our Bukusu brothers who are our fellow Luhyas is totally disturbing and unacceptable,” said Trans Nzoia County MP Nangabo.

“Unless Mudavadi apologises he should forget Bukusu votes and recognition as a Luhya leader and shall hence forth be treated as a mere Maragoli leader,” added Sirisia MP Waluke.


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