The Forum for the Restoration of Democracy- Kenya (Ford-K) party officials in Kakamega County have asked Governor Wycliffe Oparanya to allow Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula to launch his presidential bid in the county.
Led by the party’s county branch Secretary General Japheth Lusaka, the leaders faulted Mr Oparanya for interfering with the affairs of the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) in Kakamega county.
“We wish to inform Governor Oparanya that Senator Wetang’ula is a co-principal in Cord because he represents the Luhya nation. He is therefor at liberty to launch his presidential bid anywhere in Western Kenya,” said Mr Lusaka.
On Tuesday, western Kenya MPs and senators affiliated to Ford-K released a joint statement, accusing Governor Oparanya of trying to rock Cord by denying Mr Wetang’ula the space to launch his presidential bid.
Mr Oparanya, who is the ODM deputy party leader, has dismissed the bid, claiming that the opposition coalition has already decided on who will be its presidential candidate in 2017.
The Ford-Kenya party lawmakers, however, said the governor was out to scuttle efforts to unite the various parties in the coalition.
“We do not take lightly attempts by Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, who is a senior ODM official, to obstruct Senator Moses Wetang’ula from launching his presidential bid in Masinde Muliro Gardens, Kakamega,” said Ford-K, in the statement read by Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale at Parliament Buildings in Nairobi.
He was accompanied by 10 other MPs and senators.
On Sunday, Mr Oparanya said Mr Wetang’ula’s planned launch was unnecessary, drawing the anger of the senator’s supporters.
Speaking to the Nation on Friday, Mr Lusaka asked members of the Luhya community to rally behind Wetang’ula’s presidential bid.
He said the Luos have agreed to field Raila Odinga while the Kamba have fielded Kalonzo Musyoka and the Luhyas should therefore back Mr Wetang’ula.
He said the three opposition leaders will produce one presidential candidate for the coalition after launching their individual bids.
Ford-K Likuyani constituency parliamentary hopeful Deberius Shikuku said that the Luhya community has to be ready to fight for power by fielding a strong candidate in the 2017 polls.
On Thursday, police gave a go-ahead to the event warning against any attempts by youths to disrupt the occasion.
Cord co-principals Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka are expected to attend the launch.