Ford Kenya party leader Moses Wetang’ula was treated to a messy and noisy return to his Bungoma home turf on Friday.
Armed police lobbied teargas canisters at Wetang’ula’s convoy at Kamukuywa trading centre along Webuye – Kitale road and gave him a chase to his Namuyemba rural home located about one kilometer off Webuye – Malaba road within Bungoma town.
Police roadblocks were mounted along Webuye – Bungoma Highway to prevent Wetang’ula’s convoy from accessing Bungoma Central Business District (CBD) with heavy presence of police officers witnessed in major trading centres including Chwele, Chebukwa and Sikata where senator Wetang’ula was expected to make a stopover.
“I don’t understand why the police decided to block the road here even after we agreed that I will not address any public gathering on the way to my home together with my colleagues,” Wetang’ula told The Standard at Sikata market.
Women and children had to scamper for safety amidst a cloud of smoke when police lobbied teargas at Chebukwa trading centre.
Mr Wetang’ula said he had expected a smooth journey back home in the company of lawmakers from Western who accompanied him as a sign of solidarity following upheavals witnessed in Ford Kenya that almost cost him his position as the party leader.
MPs who accompanied Wetang’ula were Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East – Jubilee), Alfred Agoi (Sabatia – ANC), Mwambu Mabonga (Bumula-Independent), Ferdinand Wanyonyi (Kwanza-Ford Kenya), Chris Wamalwa (Kiminini – Ford Kenya) and Didmus Barasa (Kimilili-Jubilee).
Others are Nambale MP John Bunyasi (ANC) and Bungoma woman representative Catherine Wambilianga (Ford-K) and a host of MCAs from the county government of Bungoma.
The senator has been embroiled in Ford K leadership tussle with Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi and the party Secretary General Eseli Simiyu who stage a coup that ignited a storm in the Lion party.
Wetang’ula said what the police did was despicable “because we had not violated any law.”
He said no amount of intimidation will stop him and ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi from working together for the common good of the people of Western. “They don’t require to destroy Ford Kenya and ANC for development to be realized in Western, that is a fallacy, we shall not accept anyone to use political ventilators on us,” said Wetang’ula.
The senator said he was a responsible seasoned politician compared to some leaders from Western claiming to be championing interests of the locals by deciding for them the direction to move.
“I have been in parliament since 1993 and have served as an assistant Minister and a Cabinet Minister, I appreciate the fact that the power of people is stronger than the people in power.”
He cited the late Elijah Mwangale, one of the former powerful Cabinet Ministers from Western to have served in President Daniel Arap Moi’s government.
“Mwangale was rejected by the people when he was at his peak in politics, those masquerading out there as leaders from this region should know better.”
Leaders present affirmed their resolve to work together going forward. “Whoever wants to come to Western must go through Mudavadi and Wetang’ula, those others are generic leaders who doesn’t deserve attention,” said Mr Wamalwa.
Mudavadi, who was earlier expected to accompany Wetang’ula to Bungoma could not make it and it was not immediately clear whether he will join the team in Malava tomorrow.