Raila, Mudavadi eye Luhya vote ahead of General Election
Allies of ODM leader Raila Odinga and his Amani National Congress (ANC) counterpart Musalia Mudavadi are this month set to hold separate meetings in Western region to discuss President Uhuru Kenyatta’s succession.
The agenda of the ANC meeting slated for January 30 is to reach consensus on a single presidential candidate who the Luhya community will field in the 2020 poll.
At least three politicians — Mudavadi, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula — from the region have declared their interest in the top seat.
On the other hand, the ODM meeting-cum-rally slated for January 18 at the Bukhungu Stadium will deliberate on the region’s political positioning ahead of 2022 as well as the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report.
“The meeting will involve all leaders from the four counties in the former Western province; Kakamega, Vihiga, Busia and Bungoma,” Oparanya said on Sunday after a meeting at the Kakamega residence of Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) secretary general Francis Atwoli.
According to Oparanya, who was the convener of the get-together also attended by Raila, the leaders resolved that during the rally, they will push for expansion of the Executive with introduction of a powerful prime minister post with two deputies.
Other leaders at the meeting were Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala (ANC), Woman Representative Elsie Muhanda (ODM), Orange party secretary general Edwin Sifuna, Nominated MP Wilson Sossion and a host of MCAs. Raila was with his wife Ida.
Atwoli, also a key organiser of the January 18 rally, said the meeting would help identify individuals who will contest for the available elective positions in the region in 2022.
“We shall decide who to field for elective offices as I have said before. No one should be deceived,” he said.
At the same time, Atwoli laughed off the community’s critics who claim the region was divided, terming it a perception created by the media.
“The community is united 100 per cent and we shall prove that on January 18,” he said.
But Lugari MP Ayub Savula, a key Mudavadi ally, rubbished ODM’s planned rally, saying the planners should join other leaders in forging for a single presidential candidate from the community.
He said the January 30 meeting will bring together the 33 elected MPs from the region, including the Teso and Sabaot from Mount Elgon, to discuss the State House race.
In what he termed an elaborate plan, the MP revealed that after meeting, all the MPs will hold another separate meeting to convince “our brothers who are interested in being President to support one of their own,”
“We will have another with MCAs, senators and governors to have solid agreement to back one candidate,” said Savula. “We will endorse and propel him through grassroots meetings.”
However, Butere MP Tindi Mwale has cautioned Luhya leaders, saying any divisive agenda will only serve to advantage their opponents.
“Let every leader be given an opportunity to speak her or his heart out, we will reach consensus. I am asking leaders who don’t have capacity to mount a serious presidential campaign to support, a person with such capacity,” Mwale said in an interview with the People Daily.
Just like ODM, the Mudavadi-led party will also make major announcement regarding BBI report, especially on the proposed expanded Executive.
“ODM has suggested the position of a powerful prime minister and two deputies. What are we going to get from there so that we accommodate others?
Nevertheless, the lawmaker said the principal goal of the intended meeting will be to make sure the community has a solid presidential candidate.
Though previous attempts to occupy the seat on the hill, have been futile, he said the Luhya community wants to go where the late Vice President Kijana Wamalwa left them, the grand march to state House.