Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka on Friday said that the renewed push for Luhya unity is intended to promote growth, not Deputy President William Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid.
The push is fronted by Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi, his Ford Kenya counterpart Moses Wetang’ula and Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa.
Mr Lusaka, who was in Vihiga County for a fundraiser in aid of women groups from Hamisi Sub-County, dismissed claims that they were uniting to offer Mr Ruto political support.
He was reacting to claims by Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala, Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, who poured cold water on the unity call that was reached during the memorial of former Vice-President Kijana Wamalwa.
At the time, Mr Malala said the plan by Mr Lusaka, Mr Wetang’ula and Mr Wamalwa was aimed at deceiving Mr Mudavadi and the Luhya community into supporting Mr Ruto's 2022 presidential bid.
"Ruto is not our option. It is time young leaders from this region should seek the national leadership."
Mr Malala's sentiments were echoed by Mr Osotsi and ODM secretary-general Edwin Sifuna, who complained that the community lacked a political strategy to win national support and had resorted to lying it on Luhya unity.
But speaking at yesterday’s fundraiser attended by Jubilee women activists, Mr Lusaka said the unity would help solve myriad challenges facing the region.
"Our unity (call) should not be made to look like we want to support an individual," he said.
"Ours is aimed at fighting for the plight of our people and help address the challenges they are facing like in the sugar sector," he added.
The Speaker however noted that there was need for the community to unite and form partnerships with leaders from other communities.
His request is coming amid uncertainty in Mr Mudavadi's ANC after some of the party's county assembly members from Vihiga and Kakamega met the deputy president in Nairobi recently.
ANC has written to the MCAs asking them to show cause on why they met Mr Ruto.
The move has led to a leadership row at the Vihiga County Assembly as the Mr Mudavadi-led party plans to de-whip leaders who met Mr Ruto from assembly posts.
Those to be affected include Deputy Speaker Nixon Butiya and Majority Whip Victor Ijaika.
And speaking separately, Sabatia MP and an ally of Mr Mudavadi, Mr Alfred Agoi, said the Luhya unity call is real and dismissed the linkage to the Deputy President.
“We are on course to State House. We made a declaration and said it’s a one million man march to State House,” Mr Agoi said.