Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa was on Tuesday forced to leave the venue of the Maragoli cultural festival at Municipal Grounds in Mbale after an irate public chanted saying he was not welcome.
As things turned ugly for the CS, Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi was having it good as MPs from Kakamega started campaigning for his 2022 presidential bid, barely two months after the presidential elections.
Mr Wamalwa left barely five minutes after he had arrived at the well-attended annual event that was being marked for the 38th time.
Mr Mudavadi was at the time addressing the hundreds of attendees at the event where Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli was chief guest.
Efforts by Mr Mudavadi and Mr Atwoli to calm down the mobs were futile as the chanting grew louder.
“Aende (let him go),” the crowd shouted as some pelted him with stones. Mr Mudavadi and Mr Atwoli were forced to escort the minister out of the venue as police shot leading to a stampede. Things settled after the CS left.
Mr Wamalwa had not been invited to the event although he has attended previous functions without incident.
It was not immediately clear why the crowd reacted in that manner. However politics could be at play at the county is a Nasa zone.
Before the CS alighted from his car, the crowd thought it was Vihiga Senator George Khaniri but to their disappointment Mr Wamalwa alighted.
“It is unfortunate Eugene came to an occasion uninvited with sole purpose of disrupting it,” said Mr Mudavadi.
The ANC leader and Mr Atwoli condemned the police for shooting in the air. “Why shoot at a crowd that has created a pathway for your exit. This is display of impunity in Jubilee leadership,” said Mr Mudavadi.
Mr Mr Mudavadi had called for electoral and police reforms just before Mr Wamalwa arrived.
“Kenyan democracy has been molested. Many (Kenyans) are not satisfied. We want to ensure that reforms are met for justice to be assured,” said Mr Mudavadi.
The ANC leader defended the decision by Nasa leader Raila Odinga to withdraw from the presidential race saying the electoral body failed to meet requirements for a credible poll as directed by the Supreme Court.
Mr Atwoli demanded that both Jubilee and Nasa leaders should dialogue to save the country from further uncertainty.
“As workers we are demanding that Jubilee and Nasa dialogue. More than 100,000 jobs have been lost. Hotels and factories are laying off workers,” said Mr Atwoli.
He also accused the government of seeking the removal of Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion and Kuppet chairman Omboko Milemba from their union posts. The two are members of the National Assembly.
“Liberation came through trade movements. The government should not ask unionists to relinquish their seats just because they are in parliament,” said Mr Atwoli.
He added: “Parliament is a product of unionism. Labour movement will never be a product of parliament. Even the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta was a unionist before he got into parliament and later became president.”
Mr Milemba was elected Emuhaya MP on August 8 while Mr Sossion was nominated to parliament by ODM.
In Kakamega, MPs Ayub Savula (Lugari), Tindi Mwale (Butere), Justus Murunga (Matungu), Titus Khamala (Lurambi) and Christopher Aseka (Khwisero) urged residents of western region to support Mr Mudavadi to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta as the country’s fifth president.
Mr Savula asked the Luhya community to rally behind Mr Mudavadi to strengthen his influence in readiness for 2022 presidential race.
“The community is capable of producing a president if they take the move seriously,” said Mr Savula.
He said being the Luhya spokesman, Mr Mudavadi needs support from the community to give him leverage in 2022 negotiations.
The Lugari MP appealed to Mr Odinga to start building Mr Mudavadi who is set to succeed him (Raila) as Nasa presidential flag bearer.
“I will spearhead ANC campaigns across the country to ensure Mr Mudavadi becomes more popular a head of the 2022 campaigns,” promised Mr Savula.