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Why Luhya unity is hard to come by
By Nelson Mandela | Updated Feb 12, 2017 at 08:37 EAT
A lot has been said about Luhya community as we approach the slated August 8th polls. Despite being the second largest tribe in Kenya, the tribe cannot negotiate on whom to win the presidency. ​The tribe cannot produce a presidential candidate. Worse enough the tribe does not fully participate in the voting exercise. Furthermore the believe that the region has been in opposition denying it the opportunity to benefit from the government of the day when in real sense it is in the mind of most Kenyans that the region has produced three vice presidents, namely the late Wamalwa Kijana (2002-2003) Moody Awori (2003-2007) and Musalia Mudavadi (2002). Funny enough political bigwigs in the tribe who have been the limelight of the tribe have their promising political careers indefinitely killed because of their desire for power.It is not lost on me that at present the most outspoken politicians from Luhya nation making waves wherever they go, have earned their relevancy in opposition. Amani National Congress (ANC) party leader Musalia Mudavadi made his political comeback in 2007 while in Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and later decamped just before 2013 United Democratic Front (UDF) in Amani coalition seeking the presidency. His decision was against the tribe but he went ahead to seek the top seat in Kenya. He could only amass support from his Vihiga County with 36.5% of total voters only 3% of what CORD leader Raila Odinga garnered. It later alleged that he was the National Alliance party project. He was reminded to go back and work with Raila Odinga. Surprisingly it is working in his favour because this has given him more credit by Luhya leaders outshining CORD co-principal and Bungoma senator Moses Wetang’ula. Eugene Wamalwa and Budalang’i legislator have walked the same path.The continued preaching of the phrase that is time Luhya tribe produce one of their own to clinch the presidency is untimely. We can’t deny the fact that in order for Luhya tribe to produce a presidential candidate, they need a leader who can consolidate the 18 sub-tribes. It will be a wastage of resources and time to have a presidential candidate who will be booed while campaigning in some parts Western region. For instance, the political antagonism between the Maragoli and Bukusu sub-tribes will haunt their support terribly. The classical example was in Bukhungu stadium in Kakamega County last year when Senator Wetang’ula was launching his presidential bid. Kakamega county Governor Wycliffe Oparanya gave it a wide breath and never attended the fete. The meeting was however disrupted by rowdy youths. The best shot may be choosing a leader from other sub-tribe to leave aside Bukusu and Maragoli.The mass appointment of Luhya tribe in several parastatal jobs has been in play. Sending a clear message to the tribe that they should rethink their support for the opposition and especially CORD leader Raila Odinga. Most of these appointments go to former politicians who may not rally support for Jubilee government on the ground. The recent appointment of the former Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) leader Eliud Wabukala as the Chair of Kenya Anticorruption Commission of Kenya and Wafula Chebukati as the chair of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). Others include IEBC CEO Ezra Chiloba and Communications Authority (CA) Managing Director Francis Wangusi.Furthermore the fact that the region is still opposition stronghold (ODM) makes it hard for candidates to sell the Luhya agenda. It is not lost on me that some candidates will obviously loose in elections simply because they are not rallying their political agendas in ODM. It is thus important for Luhya tribe to realize that before thinking of going for the top sit a lot needs to be done. Thus infusion of warring parties is important. They should strengthen and champion campaigns to urge the Luhya tribe to register in large numbers. United States former President Barrack Obama once said that, my name may not be on the ballot but our progress will be on the ballot. That one of our own may not be on the ballot but patriotism and nationalism will always be there.

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