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Western leaders sign a unity agreement in quest for power

By Osinde Obare | Published Fri, August 24th 2018 at 00:00, Updated August 23rd 2018 at 23:30 GMT +3

From left ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi, Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa, Bungoma senator Moses WEtangula and Senate Speaker Keneth Lusaka during the memorial service of the late Vice President Michael Kijana Wamalwa. [Photo: Osinde Obare/Standard]

The quest for Luhya unity gathered pace after leaders from Western region signed an agreement that is expected to bind them together ahead of the 2022 elections.

The leaders, among them Amani National Congress party leader Musalia Mudavadi, Ford Kenya's Moses Wetang'ula and Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, signed the deal in hopes that it will ensure one of them succeeds President Uhuru Kenyatta.

“We are here to announce Western is coming together in a pact that will change our political and economic landscape forever,” they said in a statement read by Vihiga Governor Wilber Otichillo.

“It will no longer be business as usual. Western has been viewed as a region that only plays a supporting role in the politics of the nation. This will no longer be the case as we will determine the shape and direction of the nation."

Memorial service

Speaking at the 15th memorial service for Kijana Wamalwa, who served as vice president under former President Mwai Kibaki, the leaders pledged to abide by the agreement.

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Others present were Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka and MPs Ferdinand Wanyonyi (Kwanza), Robert Pukuse (Endebess), Didmas Barasa (Kimilili), Alfred Agoi (Sabatia), Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East), John Waluke (Sirisia) and Woman Representative Janet Nangabo (Trans Nzoia County).

Others were Mwambu Mabonga (Bumula), Eseli Simiyu (Tongaren), Raphael Wanjala (Budalang'i), Titus Khamala Lurambi) and Woman Rep Beatrice Adagala (Vihiga County).

If the deal holds, then it will debunk the perception that Luhyas cannot unite behind one of their own. This is not the first time Western leaders are attempting to unite for political strength. 

Mr Mudavadi, who was the first to append his signature to the document, said the agreement would strengthen the region economically and politically.

“The agreement will enable us walk to together as we pursue our economic and political dreams. We want to transform the economy of the region,” he said.

Mr Wetang'ula said the agreement was a major boost for the region's quest to occupy State House.

“We will stand together come rain, come sunshine. Let us remain committed to this cause and make all the necessary sacrifices. We must remain each other's keepers,” he said.

Mr Wamalwa however cautioned leaders against isolating other communities in the region.

"This would deny us the opportunity to realise our dream," he said. "Let us unify the entire Western region. We have non-Luhya communities here and we need them in order to realise our political quest."

But Orange Democratic Movement party Secretary General Edwin Sifuna described the calls for Luhya unity as a journey to nowhere.

“We need to be honest and stop lying that we are ready to produce a president. The current leaders are saying it just because they want political mileage. We want people who stand for something," Mr Sifuna said

 


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