By STEPHEN MAKABILA
KENYA: After a lull on their 2013 political resolve to back the Jubilee government in exchange for development, Western MPs are at it again, this time to consolidate the region’s voting bloc in future elections.
The MPs have lined up meetings with members of County Assemblies (MCAs) from the four counties of Kakamega, Bungoma, Busia and Vihiga as a starting point.
Among those involved include Lugari MP Ayub Savula, Navakholo MP Emmanuel Wangwe, Bumula MP Boniface Otsula and Ikolomani MP Benard Shinali.
“At least 12 other MPs from the region will be brought on board. We want to educate our people on the need to register as voters and use their voting power to ‘liberate’ the region come 2017,” said Savula.
He said the first meeting between the MPs and the MCAs is scheduled for Kakamega on January 18. On Tuesday, the MPs met Cotu Secretary-General Francis Atwoli, who is also involved in the initiative.
Atwoli has in the past been involved in the unity initiative among Luhya leaders, the most visible one having been his attempts to unite key political leaders from the community in the run up to last year’s General Election.
The MPs have also indicated they would also be reaching out to other respected leaders and political veterans in the region such as former Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi, Federal Party leader Cyrus Jirongo and former Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa for counsel.
Otsula said it was important for elected leaders in the region to remain focused and that youthful MPs were ready to provide fresh leadership.
“We cannot politic all the year round and from one election to another. We have to create time for activities that are beneficial to our people in terms of their socio-economic transformation,” added Otsula.
Otsula last December hosted Deputy President William Ruto during his home-coming fete held at Mungore Primary School grounds, where most of the first-term MPs from the region pledged to support the government .
“We have to discard our disunity and work as one people to realise development. We need to fix our roads which are in a deplorable state,” added Otsula.
Ruto has, during his several visits to Western, acknowledged that while the region mainly voted for CORD leader Raila Odinga in the last elections, they could back the Jubilee Government in the next polls.
“When we were seeking for your votes you decided to give us MPs but not enough votes for the presidency...we will come back in the next elections and we urge you to support us,” the DP said during one of his meetings in Busia county last year.
When the youthful MPs resolved to work with the Jubilee, they were accused by seasoned politicians of practicing ‘stomach politics’ .
However, the youthful MPs have indicated their key resolve this year would be to empower the people, and that whether they have to co-operate with the Jubilee government or not was secondary.
Savula recently led an onslaught on the Jubilee government over what he claimed were skewed public appointments. He claimed Western was sidelined despite the fact that the Mudavadi led Amani coalition parties of UDF and New Ford-Kenya signed post-election agreement with the Jubilee.
Savula had in May last year led 16 MPs from the community for a meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy at State House in Nairobi where a concession was made to include members of the community in key government appointments. The MPs had presented a list of 22 professionals from the Luhya community whom they wanted given State jobs.
However, some feel the latest appointments where the community has not benefitted much, was an indication that the Uhuru administration was not keen on working with the community.