Raila, Mudavadi allies split over Uhuru Western tour

Monday, July 26th, 2021 00:00 |
ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi (left) with Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia second (left) when the former toured the county at the weekend. Photo/PD/David Macharia

 Dennis Lumiti

Western Kenya leaders are divided about the planning of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s tour of the region this week.

Some politicians have questioned the viability of some of the projects to be launched by the President during his visit.

But the main bone of contention is who should “host” Uhuru during the tour, with  politicians allied to Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi demanding that he must accompany the President during the three-day tour.

They claim the visit had been hijacked by some governors in cahoots with forces from outside the region.

They accused ODM leader Raila Odinga of scheming to accompany the Head of State in a bid to revive his political fortunes in the region.

Lugari MP Ayub Savula said yesterday that Western politicians would only be part of the visit if Mudavadi will be in charge.

“They are trying to sideline Musalia to deny him support in his home turf. We will not accept that,” said Savula.

Raila’s role

Former Cabinet Minister Amukowa Anangwe said Uhuru should be welcomed and accompanied by Mudavadi the same way Raila does whenever the President visits Nyanza.

Some local leaders protested when Raila showed up during the President’s visit of Ukambani region early this month.

But Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya told off the ANC leaders, saying the visit was strictly about development and not politics.

Oparanya, who is the ODM deputy leader, said all leaders from the Western region would be involved in the tour.

He said he and fellow governors were involved by the national government to identify projects that needed to be launched or restarted.

“We have no intention of campaigning for or sidelining anyone. I will hold a meeting with all leaders before the tour so that we can have a common stand,” he added.

During the tour, the President is expected to inspect and launch various projects in Kakamega, Vihiga, Busia and Bungoma counties. 

The projects include the construction a Sh100 million Gold refinery plant at Iguhu in Ikolomani Constituency, Kakamega.

Mumias Sugar

Uhuru, who will be operating from the Kakamega State Lodge, is also expected to inspect the Sh6 billion Kakamega Teaching and Referral Hospital which is set for an upgrade from Level Five to Six.

The main focus, however, will be the revival of the Mumias Sugar Company, a controversial issue that leaders say the President must address.

He is also expected to address calls for capital injection into the struggling Nzoia Sugar Company.

In Bungoma, Uhuru is expected to commission construction of the Matulo Airstrip in Webuye, Chwele Open Air Market and Kanduyi Stadium.

He is also scheduled to award a charter to Kaimosi University College in Vihiga.

He will also inspect the Vihiga Water Cluster Project and launch the construction of a granite factory.

In Busia, Uhuru will issue a charter to Alupe University.

Also in his itinerary is the inspection of the Western and Eastern by-pass roads from Mundika to Busia town, besides Otimong to Angorom.

ANC-allied politicians said that while they support the projects, Mudavadi must be involved in the tour.

“All these projects need funding from the national government and must be approved by Parliament. As MPs, we must be at the centre of the visit. And so should our party leader,” said Savula.

The MP, who is Mudavadi’s deputy in ANC, said they would not be part of a visit “disguised as developmental yet it is meant to revive political fortunes of an outsider”.

But Oparanya said he was not aware that Raila would be accompanying the President during the visit.

Ikolomani MP Benard Shinali said his constituency would be among beneficiaries of the President’s tour.

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