As politicians from different regions of the country continue laying strategies on how they can win the next general elections next year in August or be in the next government, it is emerging that leaders from the former Western province shall not make any political impact until they form one political party that shall unite the region that is dominated by the populous Luhya community.
The region that has the second largest community in the country has for many years failed to utilize its numbers positively to enable it access power or be placed strategically in the government of the day.
Apart from the 2002 general elections when the then vice president the late Michael Wamalwa Kijana teamed up with now retired president Mwai Kibaki and Charity Ngilu to trounce retired president Daniel Arap Moi’s then preferred candidate Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, the community has since failed to find way to the unity that saw 24 members of parliament from the region settle in one political party Ford Kenya.
It was Chris Okemo of Nambale alone who was voted on a KANU ticket then but since the demise of Wamalwa in August 2003, the community has been left to the dogs with every politician singing his or her own tune as none of the leaders has managed to unite and put the house in order.
The Luhya community has on many occasions been referred to as a Busaa (Luhya traditional brew) drinking pot that is put at a road junction whereby anybody who passes by or is thirsty of Busaa can put in his or her siphon, drink as much as they want then fold their siphon and go their way.
The phrase is normally used during the electioneering periods when the community or the region gets more divided with some of the politicians being accused of being used by leaders from other regions to divide the community further.
As much as other regions are breaking their current political parties to form one common vehicle in the run to next year’s general polls, things in Western Kenya have gone haywire as each politician is going his way with some forming more political parties that can only be referred to individuals and their families or sub-communities.
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s The National Alliance –TNA and his deputy William Ruto’s United Republican Party – URP have since closed shop and formed Jubilee Party of Kenya after their initial move to form Jubilee Alliance party was rejected.
Bungoma governor Ken Lusaka’s New Ford Kenya that was initially led by the current water and irrigation services cabinet secretary Eugene Wamalwa has also announced its closure to support the new political outfit that its owners believe shall enable them win next year’s general elections that shall give president Uhuru Kenyatta his second and last term in power as president.
Despite dissenting voices over the formation of Jubilee Party especially from Ruto’s strongholds, the party seems to be taking off as the coalitions stalwarts move across the country to drum up support for their new political vehicle.
With the likes of Bungoma senator Moses Wetangula and former deputy premier Musalia Mudavadi and Eugene Wamalwa reading from different political scripts barely 18 months to the polls, it therefore reveals how the community is getting divided more in the run to the next elections.
Mudavadi after forming his new outfit in the name of ANC is now trying to sell it to the people in the region and also fighting to shake off the tag of being a mole of the ruling jubilee government as it was believed in the run to the 2013 polls.
Wetangula on his side has stuck with his CORD coalition that puts him third among the principals running from Raila Odinga of ODM, Kalonzo Musyoka of Wiper Democratic then his Ford Kenya that has seen every principal promising his people that they shall be on the presidential ballot paper in 2017 polls.
Eugene Wamalwa who is now serving in the Jubilee government has marshaled politicians especially MPs and MCAs who were elected on Jubilee friendly political parties in the region to join and drum support for the party that they believe they will use to seek re-election in August next year.
Wamalwa moved from one function to another in Western province from Kakamega to Bungoma as he urged the residents to support the new Jubilee party accompanied by a host of MPs from the region.
The CS who has in the recent past traversed the entire Western region including Trans Nzoia county sometimes accompanied by the president or the deputy and even alone to launch or promise what the Jubilee government has in store for people in the region, has also been accused of meddling in politics when he is not supposed to as a cabinet secretary.
Speaking at a function at Masaba primary school in Sirisia constituency, Wamalwa dismissed those accusing him including Lugari MP Ayub Savula (Pictured left) who has since threatened to table an impeachment motion in parliament to have him impeached on political grounds said that there is no element of the constitution that bars him from giving direction and advising his people whenever need arises.
“I would like to tell those who are threatening to impeach me including my friend Ayub Savula of Lugari that I am involved in politics to know that there is no article that can bar me from speaking to my people, advice them and give direction as a leader or as a member of the community,” he said.
He said that the community took a wrong political direction in 2013 and thus he is keen not to let it fall in the same hole in 2017 elections.
“If my people fell in a hole in 2013 and I have seen that they might be heading the same direction I have to intervene and advice them accordingly so that they do not make the same mistake and that does not mean that I am involving myself in politics,” Wamalwa pointed out.
The MPs who accompanied him including Janet Nangabo of Trans Nzoia, Dan Wanyama of Webuye West, David Wafula of Saboti and their host Major John Waluke of Sirisia ODM send the same message to the people of Bungoma and Trans Nzoia to support the new party which they said will form the next government.
Why region needs its own political party
Like other regions that have major political parties identified by their people and regions, Western Kenya is now lacking a major political party that can be identified with the region or major community found in the region.
Kalenjin communities residing in Rift Valley are dominantly in support of URP that has closed down to support JP as their Central Kenya partners in the Jubilee coalition likewise closed TNA and joined JP.
Western Kenya is now full of political patches with almost every politician forming his political party with minimal dissolutions of such parties.
Moses Wetangula’s Ford Kenya has lost grip in the region that has been penetrated by ODM in Busia and parts of Bungoma county, New Ford Kenya whose future is uncertain after dissolution has also left its supporters in dilemma.
Mudavadi’s ANC and Cyrus Jirongo’s UDP together with Vihiga governor Moses Akaranga’s Progressive Party of Kenya PPK are yet to be known out of their home counties or constituencies hence might not have much impact across the region.
An elected member of county assembly from Trans Nzoia County has therefore urged all political leaders from the region to wound up their small shops and form one common political party that shall eventually unite the entire community before the 2017 general elections.
Sikhendu ward MCA Andrew Kutitila told West Fm in Kitale that it is prudent that the community gets united or it’s doomed.
“I would like to call upon my fellow political leaders in from the larger Luhya community to put aide our political and ethnic differences this year 2016 so that we can get united and break all our small political parties to form one big one that shall unite the community,” said Kutitila.
He noted that the formation of many political parties in the region is the undoing factor that has hindered unity among leaders and people of the larger Luhya community.
The MCA (Pictured) further added that by forming one big party, the community shall have a bargaining power in any coalition that it chooses to join whether in government or opposition.
“If we cannot emulate other regions that are forming huge political parties that unite their people, then we shall never be taken serious by any coalition when it comes to bargaining for power whether in the Jubilee side or the CORD side and me I am ready to break my Federal party to form one big party with others if they agree to go the same way,” said Kutitila.
The helter-skelter situation that has engulfed the people of Western Kenya now leaves them with minimal chances of making an impact in the next general elections next year unless a miracle of unity happens or the leaders shelve their selfish interests and champion for the bigger interest of their people.