Leaders split as Uhuru and Raila plan to tour Western

Cotu boss Francis Atwoli addresses the press at his office in Nakuru on January 3, 2019. He has said the planned Bhukungu meeting is about uniting the Luhya community. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]
Political intrigues threaten to disrupt a planned rally to popularise the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report slated for January 18 at Bukhungu stadium in Kakamega County.

Some politicians have denounced the meeting even as President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga are expected to attend.

ANC deputy party leader Ayub Savula told Sunday Standard that the President will attend the meeting.

“I don’t want to comment about the upcoming Bukhungu meeting which we are aware the head of state will attend,” Mr Savula said yesterday.

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But ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi said he was not aware of the event.

“I am not involved at all in the meeting. I don’t know who is planning it, so I would not comment further,” said Mudavadi.

Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula has dismissed the planned event being spearheaded by Cotu boss Francis Atwoli and Governor Wycliffe Oparanya. There is speculation that Oparanya could be crowned as the region’s spokesperson at the event.

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Mr Atwoli reportedly hosted the governor and the ODM leader at his home where the Bukhungu meeting was planned.

The Cotu boss and Oparanya have since clarified that the meeting is about uniting the community and charting the way forward following release of the BBI report. “The event will not be used to crown the Luhya spokesperson as it has been alleged by a section of leaders,” said Atwoli.

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Atwoli had earlier dismissed those castigating him for hosting Raila. “You know that he (Raila) is my relative and he visits me every Boxing Day when he brings around his family. We don’t discuss politics during such meetings,” said Atwoli.

Anoint a leader

The Cotu boss disclosed that crowning of the Luhya kingpin will be done in December 2021 just months to the 2022 General Election.

Speaking at Emusire High School grounds in Vihiga County on New Year, Oparanya indicated that leaders will not be compelled to attend the meeting.

Western Council of Elders chairman Philip Masinde said they did not discussed plans to crown the Luhya spokesperson at Bukhungu.

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“We were there briefly and left before Raila and his team arrived. Our discussion revolved around the BBI report because we were informed by Oparanya and Atwoli that President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila would be visiting in January over the report,” he said.

Earlier, Wetang’ula said the community did not require external forces to unite them.

The senator argued that Western was united during the National Rainbow Alliance Coalition and rallied behind the late Vice President Wamalwa Kijana to deliver all the seats in the region to the party, save for Nambale which went to Kanu.

Ikolomani MP Bernard Shinali dismissed the planned meeting saying Western leaders will soon convene to make a major announcement.

Former Kakamega senator Boni Khalwale also dismissed the Bukhungu meeting labelling Atwoli “a known agent for Raila and ODM party.”

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“We want to warn Atwoli that whereas in the first instance he succeeded to lie to our community that he had the powers to anoint a leader which he did when he named Musalia Mudavadi. We know he now wants to anoint Oparanya to keep on giving Raila a foothold on the community he has shortchanged for decades,” Khalwale said.

Majority Whip in the National Assembly Benjamin Washiali wondered how a meeting for the region would be organised without the knowledge of key politicians. “A meeting without Mudavadi, Wetang’ula and myself cannot be called a Luhya event, the organisers will be shocked when we eventually release a statement,” said Mr Washiali. [John Shilitsa]

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Kakamega CountyBBIRaila OdingaPresident Uhuru Kenyatta