Luhya unity and the 2022 political alignment matter played out on Saturday at the burial of football legend Joe Kadenge, with some leaders telling Deputy President William Ruto to keep off the region.
The politicians were categorical about securing a place in the government that will follow the next general election.
Makadara MP George Aladwa kicked off the unity debate, urging Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi, Ford Kenya's Moses Wetang'ula and Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa to unite.
Mr Aladwa asked other leaders to respect the three, whom he said are western Kenya kingpins.
The MP further said Luhyas will not agree to be "organised like chickens" by an outsider.
“Ruto should keep off Luhya politics. He should let us organise ourselves for 2022. We have our own leaders,” he stated.
"We will lay out our plans ... we will not accept to be planned. We want to send the message that we have leaders in Musalia, Wetang'ula and Wamalwa and that they should be respected."
Mr Aladwa hit out at politicians backing the DP, warning them that the community will not sit back and watch them insult their own leaders.
“Some leaders have been paid to insult our leaders,” he said and told off supporters of the Tangatanga faction.
The Deputy President has, over the past few months, presided over many development and church events in Kakamega and Vihiga counties, steps which are seen as part of his efforts to win support for his 2022 bid to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Some politicians, notable among them former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale, have openly supported Dr Ruto.
Dr Khalwale defected from Ford Kenya to the ruling Jubilee Party and was received by the DP at a ceremony he hosted at his Ikolomani home in May.
Shinyalu MP Justus Kizito said some constituencies in the region have not developed because they have been "denied projects which have been dangled as carrots for political support".
“There should be equal development but some constituencies have been sidelined because development is being dished out based on political allegiance,” he stated.
“Don’t force us to support you for you to bring us development."
The MP also said Kenya has been led by two communities so it is time Luhyas secured their place.
Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa pointed out, however, that Luhya leaders will have to meet and agree on whom to front for the top office in order to attain the State House dream.
Mr Wamalwa said the large population should vote for its own.
“We won’t have two, three people on the ballot,” he said, urging Mr Wetangula, Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wamalwa to come together for purposes of 2022 positioning.
His sentiments were echoed by Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati who said Luhya leaders must walk together if they want to secure a place for the community in the next government.
“We cannot afford to be outside the government in 2022. We must be inside it to enjoy the fruits,” he stated.
Mr Wetang'ula, who is Bungoma's senator, said he is walking with Mr Mudavadi and that they are calling on other leaders to join them in building a formidable Luhya force.
He did not give details but noted that the united front will make the community attractive to other communities and political players.
“If we put our act together, we shall be more attractive to others. If we walk alone we will get nowhere,” he said.
Sabatia MP Alfred Agoi appealed to Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga to groom and front Mr Mudavadi for the top seat in 2022.
“Luhyas have supported you for more than 20 years now. You should pass the baton to Mudavadi,” he said.
Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja said Mr Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta will, through their unity deal, give the country proper direction for the future.
Mr Odinga, however, steered clear of politics, restricting his speech to honouring Mr Kadenge, whom he described as a great friend.
Mr Mudavadi also steered clear of Luhya unity politics.
Cotu boss Francis Atwoli said a second Bukhungu declaration was on the way and that it would set the stage for Luhya politics.
While adding that the the funeral brought together leaders from all over the country, he said the same spirit should be replicated in the war against corruption as led by President Kenyatta.
Without stating names, he asked Luhya leaders to stop engaging with a corrupt leader.
"Bukhungu II is coming. This time round, we will tell voters who to elect. MCAs you will decide but MPs, senators, governors and the President, we will tell you the direction to take," said Mr Atwoli.
MPs Wafula Wamunyinyi (Kanduyi), Charles Gimose (Hamisi), Godfrey Osotsi (nominated), Chris Omulele (Luanda), Ferdinand Wanyonyi (Kwanza) and Alfred Agoi (Sabatia) also attended the burial.
Others present were senators Sakaja and George Khaniri (Vihiga), Vihiga Woman Representative Beatrice Adagala and Vihiga Governor Wilbur Ottichilo, his predecessor Moses Akaranga and Kakamega Deputy Governor Philip Kutima.