Western leaders allied to Deputy President William Ruto have blamed Amani National Congress Party leader Musalia Mudavadi and his Ford-Kenya counterpart Moses Wetang’ula for not supporting development of western region.
Led by former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale and former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa, the leaders also claimed that the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) has not given the ordinary Kenyan to express their views.
Mr Khalwale blamed Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang’ula for skipping the Mumias Western Economic forum to attend the BBI meeting in Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega last Saturday.
“It was shameful for the two senior most leaders from the (western) region to abandon their own meeting (in Mumias) to join Raila (Odinga in Bukhungu)," he said.
Mr Khalwale, who urged President Kenyatta not to forget his deputy William Ruto, urged the Luhya community to remain united. Dr Khalwale said that President Kenyatta owes Dr Ruto a debt.
“He (Dr Ruto) made him president in 2013 and 2017 respectively. It will be so unfair for President Kenyatta to disown [Dr] Ruto as he completes his two terms at the presidency.”
He said that other communities had a say in the government because of their unity. He also blamed former Mumias Managing Director Evans Kidero for the financial woes facing the company.
“He (Mr Kidero) took over a robust factory but left it in shells,” Mr Khalwale claimed.
King Nabongo Mumia II challenged MPs from the region to approach President Kenyatta and ask him to revive industries in the region.
He said that traditional leadership should be incorporated in the BBI report to promote strong traditional institutions that will give direction in the country's governance.
The leaders who attended the western economic recovery meeting at Bomani grounds in Mumias on Saturday included MPs Didmus Barasa (Kimilili), Injendi Malulu (Malava), Dan Wanyama (Webuye west), Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East), John Waluke (Sirisia), Justus Murunga (Matungu), former Senator Khalwale and former CS Echesa.
Mr Murunga said that the leaders were not opposed to the BBI report. He said ordinary Kenyans should be given a chance to express their views during BBI regional meetings.
Mr Injendi said that it was unfortunate that last Saturday’s BBI meeting at Bukhungu Stadium did not address anything about industries in western.
“President Kenyatta has forgotten the people who stood with him in 2017 and instead turned to work and support those who were opposed to his leadership,” he said in reference to the close relationship between the president and ODM leader Raila Odinga.
He added: "It is unfortunate that a lot of development is being allocated to Nyanza who never voted for you (President Kenyatta) in the repeat (2017) presidential polls while Western that supported you is languishing in poverty.”
Mr Wanyama asked President Kenyatta to invite all Luhya leaders to discuss western economy.
WRITE OFF DEBTS
He said the president had promised to write off debts in the sugar sector but this was yet to be done.
"The President has been talking about writing off of loans in the sugar sector without putting it on paper. Next budget cycle should write off the loans. Mere rhetoric will not save the people of western," he said.
Mr Murunga called on Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetangula to support the leaders who are spearheading the western economic recovery.
"It's until we come together and move as one people, we shall never be respected. Let's put aside our political differences and spearhead the recovery of our economy," he said.