Speculation over claims that the event will be used to install a Luhya spokesperson has angered some leaders
The stage is set for a supremacy battle between political camps in Western ahead of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) meeting in Kakamega scheduled for January 18.
Leaders across the political divide have been trading barbs over the event to the chagrin of residents.
Last Thursday, the political differences played out during separate media briefings in Kakamega, Bungoma and Nairobi.
Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala led a section of leaders in chiding politicians from the region opposed to the BBI meeting as ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi and his Ford Kenya Moses Wetang’ula met for private talks on Thursday.
Mudavadi and Wetang’ula have distanced themselves from the BBI meeting that will be held at Bukhungu stadium.
Push for interests
The Ford Kenya leader claimed that organisers of the event did not involve the local leadership.
“We have agreed to end our differences and focus on working together for the sake of the people,” said Wetang’ula.
The Ford Kenya and ANC leaders have dismissed the Bukhungu meeting as ODM affair.
They claimed organisers of the event including Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Cotu secretary general Francis Atwoli want to use BBI to push for interests of some forces to the detriment of the region.
Mudavadi and Wetang’ula could choose to attend a parallel rally in Mumias town to counter the Bukhungu meeting.
Mr Oparanya told journalists in Kakamega that the meeting will go on with or without the leaders opposed to it.
“Everything is set and the meeting has to go on with or without them,” said the governor who denied plotting to oust Mudavadi as the region’s political kingpin.
MCAs from Kakamega, Bungoma, Vihiga and Busia are also divided over the BBI meeting.
Last Wednesday, Oparanya led five Western governors in endorsing the Bukhungu meeting.
Those in attendance at the meeting in Mumias to brainstorm on the storm on event were Governors Patrick Khaemba (Trans Nzoia), Wilber Otichillo (Vihiga), Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma) and Sospeter Ojamong (Busia).
Leaders opposed to the meeting have organised a parallel rally in Mumias town to address the economic challenges affecting the region.
National Assembly chief whip Benjamin Washiali and Navakholo MP Emanuel Wangwe said they will attend the meeting.
“All roads will be leading to Mumias where leaders from the region will discuss serious economic recovery issues,” said Mr Wangwe.
The lawmaker however indicated that they will only attend the Bukhungu rally if President Uhuru Kenyatta will be present.
“If the head of state decides to attend, we shall go there, but in case he fails to show up, we shall all team up in Mumias town for a grand rally bringing together Western leaders,” he said.
The announcement by the local council of elders that they will skip the BBI meeting has further emboldened the camp opposed to the same.
The council chairman Philip Masinde said they will not be party to the Bukhungu meeting.
“We requested to be taken through the BBI report ahead of the planned meeting with the help of legal experts but it never happened,” said Mr Masinde.
Washiali claimed most legislators from the region were kept in the dark about the meeting.
ODM MCAs converged at the county assemblies yesterday and vowed to stand with Oparanya and Mr Atwoli.
Kakamega deputy speaker Leonard Kasaya urged leaders to attend the meeting.
“We can tell you the meeting has nothing to do with politics of Western but a forum where our people will have an opportunity to get appraised of the BBI report,” said Mr Kasaya.
Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa denied claims that the event will be used to crown a Luhya spokesperson. He urged leaders to stop sideshows and attend the event.