Luhya supremo is one who takes on Raila in 2022

Monday, August 10th, 2020 00:00 |
Opposition leader Raila Odinga.

I respond to an article by one Mukalo Kwayera that appeared in the People Daily of Wednesday, July 22 regarding the political status and future of the Luhyia community. 

On the onset, let me state that whereas I agree with some of Kwayera’s arguments, there are other crucial areas in which he, and others like him, need to be reminded of some home truths.

Thus, if indeed the aim of the Luhyia community is to provide an occupant in State House come 2022, then the reality is Raila Odinga is the number one competitor to any Luhyia candidate followed closely by William Ruto.

Anyone peddling the notion that the community and their Luhyia candidate will get to the heart of power only by mostly co-operating with Raila is deluding themselves.

So are those who are being herded, bowl-in-hand, from one free goat-eating session to another. It has never happened, and it will not, any time in future.

This is ultimately dancing to the same old tune of horse-trading the community to the highest bidder for their own selfish interests.

History has proved that the Luhyia community’s reverence for their leaders is showered in abundance only to those who champion the interests of their people at a national scale, together with their peers from other regions.

Luhyia political supremos have never been appointed through public barazas, night drinking binges, goat-eating trips or begging missions.

It has been through substance of their deeds and gravitas of their utterances. For starters, that is how the late Masinde Muliro, Martin Shikuku, Moses Mudavadi and Michael Kijana Wamalwa shot into national prominence and regional kingpins.

In their heyday, the quintet never kowtowed to the whims and dictates of leaders from other communities.

Wamalwa galvanised the Luhyia community behind him by simply addressing its interests and, most importantly, taking on and beating Raila in the battle for Ford Kenya’s leadership.

Since Wamalwa’s demise, no Luhyia leader has emerged to challenge Raila. Instead, it is Raila who repeatedly uses and misuses Luhyia leaders, as he desires, like doormats.

For as it is in Kenyan realpolitik, anyone gunning for the big seat at national level must first consolidate the parochial interests of their community then head out to negotiate the necessary alliances before campaigning on a platform with the intention of winning.

Previously this meant consolidating the former Western Province as the ancestral or cultural territorial vicinity of the Luhyia people before making alliances with other entities from other provinces.

Today, thanks to devolved government, the arithmetic is slightly different.

If one has to be taken seriously as the Western supremo by consolidating parochial interests, he or she must work at fully establishing themselves by uniting the four so-called “Luhyia counties” of Kakamega, Bungoma, Vihiga and Busia.

It is for this reason that Raila, and Ruto as well, are always quick to pay attention to Western Kenya because once they have secured their own parochial community political interests, they must spread their power base in the neighbourhood.

Any Luhyia presidential candidate must then decide to what degree Raila and Ruto are the greater competitor based on previous interaction.

If both have been friends, then they can mutually be described by the common saying ‘kikulacho ki nguoni mwako’ based on their inroads in the region.

They are equally likely to stoke misinformation or activities that further dissuade or confuse the Luhyia intent of having a candidate marching to State House. The author is a digital media consultant—[email protected]

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