Leaders from western Kenya are meeting in Nairobi on Tuesday in the latest push to unify the Luhya community so that they speak in one voice on issues affecting the area and 2022 presidential elections.
The meeting, to be attended by all the 49 MPs, five governors and senators from the region, will also be used to chart the development agenda for the region, with focus on the revival of the ailing sugar industry.
Lugari MP Ayub Savula said the meeting aims at making the leaders to have one stand on issues affecting the community regardless of their political leaning.
“We want to join ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula who are spearheading the unity of the region plus the resurgence of the region’s economy,” said Mr Savula.
Last week, after the MPs threw out the controversial sugar report, both Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang’ula met with Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa in Nairobi and urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to form a commission of inquiry to investigate the matter.
Speaking at the homecoming ceremony of Lurambi MP Titus Khamala on Sunday, Mr Mudavadi said issues relating to sugarcane farming, which is the region’s economic bedrock, can only be taken seriously if leaders from western move together and speak in one language.
“I am ready to work with all leaders from western and ensure that we have a flag bearer who will spearhead the region’s agenda,” said Mr Mudavadi.
On his part, Mr Wetang’ula said the ongoing negotiations between ANC and Ford Kenya leaders will bring out a leader who will give direction to the region’s political and developmental roadmap.
“If it will be Mudavadi or Wamalwa, I will give them my support. And if the dice will shine on me, they should also accept it and back me. This is the way to go and we have no other option this time,” said Mr Wetang’ula.
The Bungoma senator insisted that residents of western region are united and have no problem working together.
“It is the leaders who have failed to come together and speak in one language to give wananchi the desired direction,” he added.
CS Wamalwa asked MPs from the region to reclaim the oversight role that was played by the late Martin Shikuku in defending the region’s resources.
Mr Wamalwa noted that the existing divisions among leaders from the region is being used by people from other communities who use the region as a stepping stone to power.
Vihiga Governor Wilbur Otichilo asked other leaders who have not joined the ongoing unity negotiations spearheaded by Mr Mudavadi to join the bandwagon.
“Let us put aside our political differences and come together for the betterment of our people. This is the way to go as a community so that we can be respected by other people,” said Mr Otichilo.
Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali said the call for unity is taking longer than expected and challenged Mr Mudavadi to speed up the initiative so that the region can plan for its development.
NO POLITICAL BARRIERS
He said the unity talks should involve all leaders from the region including those in ODM and Jubilee.
“Bring everybody on board irrespective of which political party he supports because development has no religious or political boundaries. This is a matter regarding the wellbeing of our people,” said Mr Washiali.
Mr Savula said the Nairobi meeting will be used to come up with a plan for a series of sensitisation rallies which will be conducted across the region to drum up support for the unity quest.
“Anybody who is opposed to this initiative will be seen as the enemy of the people of western,” noted Mr Savula.
Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala has opposed the unity initiative saying it lacks focus.
Mr Malala urged leaders pushing for the unity to first dissolve their affiliate parties and merge them into one front if they are genuine in their quest.