A section of Western region leaders has lashed out at politicians Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula, saying they have nothing to show for the many years they have been in power.
The leaders allied to the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) said their criticism was part of their fight for the region’s development, not a bid to become Luhya community spokespersons.
Led by Devolution Cabinet Secretary (CS) Eugene Wamalwa, they spoke of a paradigm shift in Western, “from politics of power to politics of development”.
CS Wamalwa asked Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang’ula, leaders of the Amani National Congress (ANC) and Ford-Kenya parties, whom he termed detractors, to watch the region's political space as it is headed for greatness.
"We are not in any way interested in the position of Luhya spokesman but in ensuring the region benefits from government projects and that stalled projects are revived,” he said at Kibabii University in Kanduyi during a meeting with teachers on the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr Wamalwa said neither Mr Mudavadi nor Mr Wetang’ula, who is Bungoma County’s senator, can be president if they are “only rotating in Western villages”.
He told off the ANC boss over the issue of forming a commission of inquiry to look into the sugar sector’s woes, saying it is too late for that as the State has already put in place measures to streamline the industry.
Mr Wamalwa said “the noise” the two politicians are making about the sugar industry will only be a step back in the plan to revive stalled projects in the region.
Regarding the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga, the minister said he was the second person to have a handshake with Mr Wetang’ula at Mabanga in Kabuchai Constituency.
This handshake, he said, culminated in the Kitale declaration where they agreed to meet the President over development.
"[Kakamega Governor Wycliffe] Oparanya speaks for 47 counties. I speak for all governors in Kenya; we have a bigger agenda. We are not interested in the position of a spokesman but in development for our people," he said.
Mr Mudavadi is eying the presidency come 2022 and says he does not want political realignments even as the President crafts an all inclusive Cabinet.
He said he learnt a painful lesson in 2002 when he was made Vice President for three months by the then President Daniel Moi and lost his Sabatia parliamentary seat to former Vihiga Governor Moses Akaranga in the subsequent polls.
Mr Wetang’ula has also vowed not to work with the Jubilee Party administration, claiming it has wrecked the economy.
Mr Oparanya, chair of the Council of Governors, said Western leaders are tired of speaking about government issues at funerals and are therefore working with the President for meaningful change in the region.
"Wamalwa and I would just say hi to each other when he was in government and I was in the opposition but now we can speak the same language of development," he said.
He added that when he was in Ford-Kenya, under Michael Wamalwa in 2002, the party had a following all over the country but that this has not been the case under Senator Wetang’ula’s leadership.
Mr Oparanya asked Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi to revive the party and restore its national image.
"It's the second oldest party in Kenya but when people look at it, it is a shame [as it has] only two governors,” he said.
He asked the electorate to support the BBI agenda and said the meeting with Western leaders was to unite the people for the sake of development.
"It had nothing to do with Luhyas but Western leaders. We must move together without discriminating against anybody.”
Busia Governor Sospeter Ojamong said the region lacks representation in the government and that unity with President Kenyatta’s administration will lead to improved infrastructure and more key appointments.
"Our airstrips are being worked on. Contractors who were sleeping on the job have woken up after the goodwill of the government,” he said, adding it is childish for anyone to associate them with fighting over the spokesperson position.
Bungoma Wycliffe Wangamati said a leader will emerge among Luhyas who will be strong like President Kenyatta, Mr Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto.
He also said they are not interested in positions but the revival of stalled factories and fighting the pandemic.
Mr Wamunyinyi said he had received congratulatory messages from people who want to return to Ford-Kenya after Mr Wetang’ula’s exit.
Mr Wetang’ula has moved to court to sort out the mess in the party occasioned by a coup which ousted him last month.