Ken Lusaka: I am proud of my role in entrenching Jubilee in Western Kenya

Ken Lusaka

Sacrifice is not a popular concept in Kenya, for it is associated with opportunity loss. In this country’s culture of self-betterment and self-interest, political sacrifice rubs many the wrong way. Most politicians talk and yearn for more; not giving away. It is no wonder that most of them would want to force themselves on the electorate using every means.

It is not something to regret. No wonder in February 1985, while responding to the offer of freedom from the former Prime Minister of South Africa Pieter Willem Botha, Nelson Mandela said that he was not less “life-loving than you are. But I cannot sell my birth right, nor am I prepared to sell the birth right of the people to be free.”


That is why, guided by the spirit of political sacrifice and public interest, I conceded defeat on Friday morning despite pressure that I dispute the outcome of the gubernatorial polls, which put Ford-Kenya’s Wycliffe Wangamati ahead of me by slightly more than 20,000 votes. There is little doubt that Bungoma’s was a fierce battle. In a region that has historically been an Opposition bedrock, selling Jubilee was tough. It was hostile, and time after time, Jubilee supporters would be attacked.

With selfless devotion, I garnered more than 176,000 votes. Indeed, Jubilee’s intense forays in the region saw President Uhuru Kenyatta get 127,000 - approximately 30 per cent of the total votes tallied. This is way above the 2013 figure of 43,000 - representing a 195 per cent rise in votes. At that time, Opposition chief Raila Odinga amassed 185,000 votes.

Propped up by the innumerable development projects that my government and that of President Kenyatta set up, Bungoma County produced four members of Parliament: Didmus Barasa (Kimilili), Fredrick Chesebe Kapondi (Mt Elgon), Dan Wanyama (Webuye West) and John Waluke (Sirisia). Given the meritorious performance of Jubilee Party in a short span of period, there are strong pointers that Bungoma will be a red-zone by 2022.

The national government has to step up its development forays into the region and bolster health, water, education, roads and power connections. The ongoing tarmacking of the 28-kilometre Musikoma-Buyofu-Mungatsi must be sped up. So should the Kapsokwony-Namwela, Chwele-Lwakhakha and Brigadier-Naitiri roads. Certainly, the completion of these roads will open up Bungoma for more trade and investments, further lowering poverty levels in the area.


But getting this work done, and completed on time, requires goodwill and teamwork from both the national and county governments. This is because while the top government is Jubilee, that of Bungoma is now dominated by Ford-Kenya, one of the Opposition outfits under the NASA umbrella. Crucially, President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto have a civic duty of bringing not only Bungoma but also other Western region leaders to the table. An inclusive government, as early as in 2017, would be a crucial ingredient for an indisputable win for Jubilee in 2022.

As indicated in my concession speech, my loss in the governorship race does not sever my ties with Bungoma; this is my home, and I have an obligation to transform it.

I look forward to supporting and guiding my successor as he steers Bungoma to greater heights. Wherever he deviates from his promises, I will obviously seek to hold him to account. And that is why at a time when the country is at a crossroads, Odinga should also heed to the numerous calls across the world  to concede defeat and allow the country to move forward.

While there is need for authorities to cross-check the allegations he has made against the electoral agency, the Opposition leader should in the meantime call for calm and, perhaps, mull the idea that a display of respect for the laws of the land would be a lasting legacy in his long and rich political career. Going forward, I am more than determined to redden Western and advocate for more development in the region.

Mr Lusaka is outgoing Governor, Bungoma County. [email protected]