Western, Nyanza leaders differ over planned meetings

Thursday, January 9th, 2020 00:00 |
Western Kenya MPs led by Eseli Simiyu (Tongaren), Sakwa Bunyasi (Nambale) and Ben Washiali (Mumias) during the press conference in Nairobi. Photo/PD/Samuel Kariuki

Leaders from Western Kenya allied to Jubilee Party,  Amani National Congress (ANC) and  Ford Kenya yesterday distanced themselves from a meeting slated for January 18 at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega county.

The meeting is jointly organised by Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) secretary general Francis Atwoli and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya to deliberate on the region’s political positioning ahead of 2022 General Election and the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report.

Addressing the press in Nairobi yesterday, the 11 MPs claimed the proposed meeting is an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) affair to popularise its party leader Raila Odinga and his deputy  Oparanya.

Led by Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali (Jubilee) and his Nambale counterpart Sakwa Bunyasi (ANC), they also questioned the sincerity of the proposed meeting as a platform to popularise the BBI report.

“As legislators from Western Kenya, we want to state categorically that we do not know anything about the meeting,” they said in a statement read by Bunyasi.

According to the lawmakers, basic courtesy and common decency demands that if anyone is organising a leaders meeting in any part of the country, he or she must involve the people’s elected leaders.

They included Dr Eseli Simiyu (Tongaren, Ford Kenya), Bunyasi (Nambale, ANC), Justus Murunga (Matungu, ANC), Tindi Mwale (Butere, ANC), Ayub Savula (Lugari, ANC) and John Waluke (Sirisia, ANC)

Others were Emmanuel Wangwe (Navakholo, Jubilee), Malulu Injendi (Malava, Jubilee) and Vihiga Woman Rep Beatrice Adagala (ANC).

The leaders have questioned Atwoli’s mandate to hold a political meeting without involving elected leaders accusing him of attempting to use the community to advance his selfish interests.

According to them, the scheduled meeting is meant to read out a list of people to be elected in various posts come 2022 poll in Western Kenya.

However, People Daily has established that the battle for Bukhungu meeting revolves, among other issues, the creation of a Prime Minister’s post, a key pillar of the BBI report.

Common stand 

Yesterday, Oparanya, who is the convener of the Bukhungu rally said they will put emphasis on expansion of the Executive with introduction of a powerful Prime Minister post and two deputies. 

“We will be going through the first wrap of the BBI and we will make a position and propose changes in the report,” he said.

Some leaders from Kisii county also poured cold water on the planned Friday meeting to discuss the report.

Led by Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi, they questioned the motive of the meeting saying Kenyans have already taken a position on the report.

 Maangi, a key ally of Deputy President William Ruto, termed the planned meeting to be held at Gusii Stadium as a waste of time and public funds.

“Kenyans have taken a common stand on the report and it is unnecessary to spend public funds on the forum,” he said.

The greater Nyanza consultative meeting will be addressed by ODM leader Raila Odinga.

Maangi, who was flanked by Leader of Minority James Ondari and Deputy Speaker Davins Onuso urged the government to avail copies of the report to the members of the public to read and make informed decision about it.

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