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ELECTION 2022

Luhyas are doomed with Wetangula as their leader

UREPORT
By Pal Jeff | May 6th 2016 | 4 min read

For decades now, the Luhya community has voted in a confused way by splitting their votes amongst several presidential candidates, and as 2017 fast approaches, there seems to be no hope they will overcome this huddle.  

While other communities like Kikuyus, Kalenjins, Luos, Kambas and even the coastal people seem to have already settled on whom to front, Luhyas seem still stagnated in deciding who among their leaders is best suited to lead their bargain at the national level.

It is a fact that the failure to rally under one candidate during elections and the tendency to split the electoral bloc has devalued Luhya’s stature as the second largest community, an aspect that has caused the community to be overshadowed politically.

More than often, key leaders have been accused of failure to show the community a direction due to selfish interests that have left them spectators in matters of national interest.

In recent days, we have had calls from different quarters calling on other Luhya leaders to rally behind senator Moses Wetangula as the community tries to chat its way back into national politics.

Majority of these proponents seem to believe that by the mere fact of him being in CORD, then the community stands a better chance. However, they seem to ignore a lot of factors that dilute the whole essence.

First, this school of thoughts seem to forget the fact that Senator Wetangula found most Luhyas in CORD through ODM and not the other way round. It is for this reason that we have seen him being reminded time and again that ODM can do without him amongst the Luhya community.

This is the same reason as to why Luhyas got a raw deal in CORD despite supporting it in masses in the 2013 general elections. Simply put, ODM believes Wetangula needs them more than they need him hence making him voiceless in the coalition.

Another factor that most of this proponents seem to ignore is, the undermining the senator has gone through ever since he stage managed a presidential bid at Masinde Muliro gardens. First, the CORD leader Raila Odinga decided to skip the event in favour of a visit to Tanzania. This came despite his well broadcasted promise to attend the event. It was later claimed that the three principles met and ironed it out but the damage was already done.

Yes, Raila was not ready to be challenged in the region, and more so by someone he believes needs him more than he, Raila, needs him. This was well propagated by his lieutenants in Ababu Namwamba and Governor Wycliffe Oparanya. And in handling the same, the senator seemed so desperate for their support that left many wondering if truly he had any future outside CORD.

It has also been claimed that senator Wetangula is only buying time and soon he will be joining the ruling coalition Jubilee. In fact, it was rumoured that the reason Raila skipped the event was because it was sponsored by Jubilee. It is further claimed that the senator has received some good money from the ruling coalition to ensure that he goes all the way to the ballot and hence splitting the votes to the disadvantage of ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi. Nobody wants to travel that route and if indeed these are his plans, then the community is better off with someone else as their leader.

Then we got the many scandals that have dogged the senator in recent times. First came the accusation about voter bribery that almost saw him lose the Bungoma senator-ship seat. Many pundits believe that his neck was saved by the Jubilee administration as they plan to use him and striking his name out will have disadvantaged them.

Then we had the BAT allegations and worse of it, the battering he received from his wife. This saw former assistant minister Bifoli Wafoli claim that a Luhya man beaten by his wife cannot lead the community and I know many echoed his sentiments in silence.

Then as we all know, the senator stands a nil chance to become the CORD flag bearer and this seems to be the hope of the majority who support him. They believe that with the CORD support then the Luhya people stand a chance to ascend to the top most seat in the country through Senator Wetangula.

But in recent times, they have been reminded that Wetangula was not even part of the MOU that saw Raila become the flag bearer and Kalonzo his running mate in 2013. Raila has not only gone ahead to declare the MOU null, but also restructured his house as he prepares to give his best shot in 2017. And if they were to stick together, then in his own words, you don’t change a winning team of Raila and Kalonzo leaving Wetangula with no chance of leading the coalition.

They say that a day in politics is enough to re-align things, but with all the factors pointing to the contrary, then the hope of Luhyas grabbing power through Wetangula and the CORD family just remains a pipe dream. And if anything, it stands to render the community more irrelevant after the 2017 polls.

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