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December 10, 2019 - 22:17
Cyprian Is Nyakundi
Politics

Inside Luhya politics ahead of 2017

15

Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission has set August 8 2017 as the date when Kenyans will go back to the polls to elect their new leaders or re-elect the current ones for another five-year mandate in line with the provisions of the constitution.
As the countdown to the polls begins in earnest the Luhya Nation remains fractiously divided. This community has a perennial history of approaching every election in different and small political pieces. This has undermined its chances of producing and rallying behind a single presidential candidate to win or directly influence the election outcome in the country.
The community has only 12 months to put its house in order and key players in region politics are already scheming on how to control the vote bloc.
Cotu secretary general Francis Atwoli recently according to sources hosted over 20 Luhya MPs at his new magnificent Kajiado home which has a five-star hotel where they discussed community issues for hours. According to a source, the chairman of Luhya parliamentary group John Bunyasi, the Nambale legislator was present. An MP who attended the talks told us that many were of the opinion that Atwoli be given the mandate to unite the community. This will not be the first time Atwoli will be engaged. Prior to the 2013 general election, Atwoli sponsored unity talks between Musalia Mudavadi, Moses Wetangula, Cyrus Jirongo and Eugene Wamalwa in Maasai Mara to agree on one candidate.
Stakeholders want Atwoli to be supported as the umpire to bring together all the Luhya leaders and help chart a unifying course that will rally the people of Mulembe behind a single candidate with a national appeal in one of the coalitions.
Atwoli is seen as both capable and neutral. He is a respected elder in the community and he is not seeking any elective or political seat at the moment. He is also a fundraiser who can marshal resources to fund a well structured unity dialogue starting from the top downwards.
Currently, there are a number of Luhya leaders angling to contest the presidency. Among them are Ford-K party leader and Bungoma senator Wetangula, ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi and his UDP counterpart Jirongo. Analysts say a formula need to be quickly worked out to pick one torch-bearer from the above leaders.
Atwoli at the function is said to have opined that only a single presidential candidate from the Luhya Nation can create an impact on the national political scene. Anything short of that is betrayal of our people. Immediately Atwoli hosted the MPs deputy president William Ruto had a delegation of a section of the community at his Sugoi home in Uasin Gishu. Many of them were of New Ford Kenya. Ruto took issue of Luhyas being beggars and need to join Jubilee. Chaos erupted when the DP gave a donation of Sh1.5 million to be shared among the visitors. URP secretary general Fred Muteti had his trousers torn as those invited fought over the money.
When Ruto visited the region for Butsotso cultural fete, he came face to face with Senator Bonnie Khalwale. Khalwale told Ruto not to depend on political brokers in the region since the community has its own leaders. It has emerged that the DP has been paying sitting MPs allied to him Sh20,000 per week for operations and Jubilee invades the area on a buying spree of its leaders to weaken and divide the region. Navakholo MP Emmanuel Wangwe and Ben Shinali of Ikolomani top the list. Former Shinyalu MP Justus Kizito currently experiencing financial troubles has also joined Jubilee. ANC leader Mudavadi has abandoned him after discovering he Kizito is a liability than an asset.
It is also surfacing that Jubilee is targeting the populous Bukusu vote bloc to tilt the political equation come 2017.All its appointment are aimed at the community sidelining other regions. Wetangula has roots in the region and with his fate still within IEBC, it will be interesting to see unfolding scenario.
January 20 2016 will of no doubt capture the attention of all Kenyans and political observers across the globe as IEBC commissioners deliver a ruling on the Wetangula’s political fate of the famous “Mundu Khu Mundu” catchphrase which for years has been a common recital amongst keen political observers.
This will be a day to capture the important dramatic moment of Wetangula’s political career on whether his name will remain on the ballot or struck off, depending on his defence team that is expected to put forth a gallant effort of proving his innocence hence determine the political re- alignments ahead of 2017 elections which Wetangula has declared to run for presidency. Mudavadi, Jirongo, Khalwale and Atwoli are said to be in talks with Wetangula in case of any eventuality. For now, Ruto is the political enemy of top Luhya politicians and thus has decided to use first time MPs in his bid to infiltrate the region which has failed. The bringing on board of Wamalwa to accompany him in regionao functions despite being a cabinet secretary shows how desperate Jubilee is out to make inroads in the region with less success. The political statements made by Wamalwa contravene the law that as a cabinet secretary, he should not engage in politics. The ailing Mumias Sugar saga, the death of Panpaper, the stalled Kakamega-Webuye road construction works and the construction of Kakamega, Navakholo, Bungoma road which was promised by Ruto are ghosts haunting Jubilee a head of 2017.
Wetangula is being accused of voter bribery, a fact that he has vehemently denied.
Wetangula’s Western rallies have thrown the region into campaign mood.
Foreign visitors will be forgiven for imagining the country is barely months away from the polls when in reality is far from it. Amid this, aspirant governors, senators, MPs and MCAs have thrown spanners in the works emasculated by Wetangula and holding in contempt politicians from the region sympathetic to Jubilee government led by Bungoma governor Kenneth Lusaka. Lusaka promotes Jubilee interests in the region that enjoys the dominance of Cord and has managed to have the government control majority in the assembly.
During the rallies that pulled a host of MPs and MCAs from western in tow, Ford Kenya’s 2017 Bungoma county gubernatorial aspirant Wycliffe Wangamati upped the ante on corruption and bad governance from Lusaka’s region faulting Lusaka on Wetangula woes, as it has been alleged by Cord politicians that Lusaka, cabinet secretary Eugene Wamalwa, Noah Wekesa and Musikari Kombo have been making frequent forays to State House to have the state push IEBC to remove Senator Wetangula’s name from the voter register, a move that may see him being barred from contesting any elective post.



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