Western Kenya leaders met yesterday in two separate meetings to seek unity as jostling for the region’s “kingship” intensifies.
Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya led their troops to a meeting with elders at the Kitale National Polytechnic in Trans Nzoia County where they pledged to continue supporting initiatives that would benefit the region.
Across, at the home of Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa, ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula were ramping up their push for Luhya unity, with Wetang’ula, the Bungoma senator, pledging to work with Mudavadi.
Wetang’ula is said to have yielded to pressure from elders during the closed door meeting to have the leaders work together.
The meeting was also attended by other political leaders from the community.
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The elders drawn from Bungoma County endorsed Mudavadi as their spokesman and presidential flagbearer in 2022.
“I today pledge to walk with and support my brother Mudavadi to the end. I will never abandon him and I know together we will deliver the presidency come 2022,” Wetang’ula said.
According to a source who attended the meeting, the elders asked the two leaders to reach out to other regions to support Mudavadi's presidential bid.
Lugari MP Ayub Savula confirmed that the two leaders agreed to walk together politically for the benefit of the community.
“Mudavadi and Wetang’ula are the only Luhya leaders with political parties. They have to work together to deliver the presidency,” said Mr Savula, adding that the two should consolidate the Luhya first before seeking support from other communities.
Savula said the meeting bestowed on Mudavadi and Wetang’ula the powers to be the community’s spokespersons as their parties have the majority MPs in the region.
Mudavadi accused President Uhuru Kenyatta of using the war against corruption to achieve a political agenda, saying it was targeting those opposed to his leadership.
The leaders also took issue with the measures to revive the western region economic development, terming it a “hoax” to hoodwink the electorate.
Early last week, a team of leaders from the region led by Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya met President Kenyatta at State House where a raft of measures to jump-start the dying sugar sector were announced.
A debt of Sh62 billion by the sugar millers was waived, Sh85 million was put on the table to pay farmers and a number of projects were promised by the president.
At the Kitale National Polytechnic meeting, also attended by governors Patrick Khaemba (Trans Nzoia), Wyclife Wangamati (Bungoma), and Sospeter Ojamong (Busia), CS Wamalwa and Oparanya drummed up support for BBI.
“You will not hear us engaging in political rhetoric because we are focused on addressing the challenges our region is facing. In other regions, you hear incentives given to tea or coffee sectors. In Western Kenya, the sugar sector is collapsed and that is why as a region we are engaging the government on the issue,” said Wamalwa.