Presidential aspirants in unity call
Posted Saturday, October 27 2012 at 23:30
- Calls for national unity were overshadowed by disagreements among Luhya politicians on whether they should support one of their own for the presidency
- Ikolomani MP Boni Khalwale said his support for Mr Mudavadi’s presidential bid did not mean he subscribe to tribal politics
Four presidential hopefuls have called for unity in the country and criticised leaders they said were dangling the tribal card ahead of the next elections.
Presidential hopefuls Deputy Prime Minster Musalia Mudavadi, Peter Kenneth, Eugene Wamalwa and Moses Wetang’ula said the country should move to the elections united and peaceful.
The leaders were speaking at the burial of Mr Jamin Kituyi, the father to former Trade Minster Mukhisa Kituyi in Mbakalo, Bungoma county.
Mr Mudavadi, who is seeking the presidency on a UDF party ticket, said it was only through unity that the country can move forward.
Mr Kenneth, who has declared his interest in the presidency on a Kenya National Congress party ticket, said there was need for leaders to rise beyond tribes.
He said leaders should be evaluated based on what they can deliver in terms of bringing development to Kenyans. He said that the coming elections will be a choice between bringing change and maintaining the status quo.
But calls for national unity were overshadowed by disagreements among Luhya politicians on whether they should support one of their own for the presidency.
Justice minister Eugene Wamalwa broke ranks with the other leaders calling for an alliance of Lunya aspirants and insisted that his name will be on the ballot paper.
“I wish all my bothers well but come March 4 , I will also be on the presidential ballot paper,” he said.
Nomainted MP Musikari Kombo was heckled by the mourners when he said that he only supports Mr Wamalwa for the presidency.
“I have made my choice and it remains Wamalwa. Even if others want to unite, I will continue to support Wamalwa,” he said. For his part, Mr Mudavadia, reiterated that he is committed to the unity of the Luhya community.
Mr Wetang’ula, also the Trade minister, said that he supports efforts to have the Luhya to rally behind one candidate.
“Our 18 per cent population strength will be meaningless unless we are united since other aspirants will get fractions of the vote if we are divided. We can only reach others once we are together,” he said.
Mr Wetang’ula, however, said that the Luhya unity talks should not be used to unfairly lock out any one of them from seeking the leadership of the country.
“I equally want to be given an opportunity even as we talk unity to contribute to the unity,” he said.
Mr Wetang’ula and Mudavadi were appearing together in public for the first time since the much touted talks brokered by Cotu secretary-general Francis Atwoli.
Mr Wetang’ula said he is best suited to be the flag bearer of the Luhya.
Mr Atwoli, who was at the funeral, said he did not want to stifle democracy by backing any of the aspirants but only wanted them to decide on who should be the candidate.