Elections 2017

Mudavadi and Wetang’ula to attend BBI rally, claim leaders

Western leaders led by Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya inspect Bukhungu Stadium yesterday. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

The cloud of uncertainty which had been hanging over today’s Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) meeting at Bukhungu stadium, appears to have finally cleared.

This is after the police outlawed a parallel rally that was to be held in Mumias.

But a number of leaders allied to Deputy President William Ruto, led by former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale, insisted they would go on with the parallel rally, raising fears of a possible clash with the police.

This comes amid claims Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula of Ford Kenya would attend the Bukhungu meeting.

Mudavadi and Wetang’ula had earlier indicated that they would not attend the meeting since it was meant to install Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya.

A source yesterday told the Saturday Standard that President Uhuru Kenyatta called Mudavadi and requested him to attend the Bukhungu meeting.

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“In the conversation they also agreed on their rules of engagement moving forward,” said the source.

Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi, who is the Bungoma County Ford Kenya chairman, said Wetang’ula would attend the Bukhungu meeting.

“Wetang’ula is a leader in this region and we have asked him to come for the meeting. I want to confirm he won’t attend the Mumias meeting since it was cancelled by the police and there is nobody in Mumias. I’m talking as Ford Kenya chairman in Bungoma and he (Wetang’ula) will join us,” said Wamunyinyi.

He said lawmakers from Western Kenya are in full support of the BBI initiative and therefore Wetang’ula and Mudavadi have no option but to attend the Bukhungu meeting.

Expected

Yesterday, a group of MPs joined Oparanya and a host of governors and Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa in inspecting the final preparations at Bukhungu Stadium ahead of the meeting.

Over 50,000 people are expected to attend the meeting.

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Lurambi MP Titus Khamala said he had talked to Mudavadi, who he said had accepted to attend the BBI rally.

“I want to assure you that my party leader Musalia Mudavadi has confirmed that he will attend the BBI meeting today. I have prayed for him and he will be here tomorrow. We are not party to that meeting in Mumias town,” said Bishop Khamala, an ANC MP.

Lugari MP Ayub Savula told Mudavadi and Wetang’ula that they should lead by example by attending the meeting and not just confirm their attendance and fail to show up.

“Any Luhya who will not be part of today’s meeting is an enemy of the community. Mudavadi and Wetang’ula have no option but to attend the BBI meeting since it’s the final we are having as we forge the way forward in forming the next government,” said Savula.

He asked the two to emulate leaders from Kisii County who attended their meeting in large numbers, including Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i.

Savula said the Western leaders should stop dividing the community further.

“This is where the national cake is being distributed and a deciding factor on where and how we shall form the next government,” he said.

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It was not possible to confirm from Mudavadi and Wetang’ula whether they would attend as they did not respond to our calls.

Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala said they would take a roll call of all leaders who would attend the meeting.

His sentiments were echoed by Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli who reminded Mudavadi and Wetang’ula that he would not be installing any leader today as the region’s spokesman.

“We are not installing anyone and this will be done in December 2021 and I will fund it alone. We must take someone to the negotiating table for 2022 presidency but we can’t be cowards and refuse to attend BBI initiative that will give us the direct ticket to form the next government,” said Atwoli.

He told Mudavadi and Wetang’ula that they will be thrown to political oblivion if they fail to attend the BBI meeting, as the region has no deficit of leaders.

“You want to be installed as the region’s political kingpin after people have fought for power. We can’t do that. We don’t have a deficit of leaders in the region and anybody can take a flag.

“If you are not in the leadership corridor, you won’t be part of the next government even when you have a lot of money,” said Atwoli.

He said the executive would be expanded to have the position of prime minister and two deputies so that all regions can be accommodated.

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“We must get our mathematics right the way Western governors are doing. Mudavadi and Wetang’ula haven’t stolen any money and they have a clean record to ascend to power but when I hear them and their lieutenants throwing insults at us, I pity them. Let them be part of this initiative,” said Atwoli.