Calls for Luhya unity prevail as the late Lusweti is laid to rest

Deputy President William Ruto, Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka and Governor Wycliffe Wangamati at the funeral. Photo/DPPS

Luhya unity politics dominated at the funeral of the late James Lusweti Mukwe, former Kabuchai MP, at Sinandiki, Chwele in Bungoma County. The function was attended by several leaders, family and friends. Deputy President William Ruto lauded the late Mukwe as a courageous leader who valued uniting with other leaders and serving constituents, “We are here today because James was a leader with distinction. Even though we were elected on different party tickets, I became a friend to the late Mukwe.”

On the BBI report, he said enough copies should be made so that Kenyans know what they are getting into, “Kenyans should understand why the Constitution needs to be changed and for whose benefit, before we ask them to say yes or no.” He faulted the idea that Kenyans may get mixed up and won’t tell the difference between the executive, and other parts of governance, saying Kenyans are sharp enough to know the BBI details in full.

On his part, Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetangula said he had a solid relationship with the late Lusweti and they’ve been close on the political field since they started working together. He lauded the parliamentary service commission (PSC) for standing with the leader when he needed medical help, given that his insurance cover had already expired. He said National Assembly speaker Justin Muturi intervened and ensured the late Lusweti received treatment at the Nairobi Hospital.

He said the late’s family will receive assistance, and that President Uhuru Kenyatta has offered to help two children get employment. He also rubbished concerns created by his detractors, saying he has to finish his political race, “Those insulting me, I’ve forgiven them.”

Kenya’s ambassador to the DRC Amb. Dr. George Masafu speaking at the late Lusweti’s funeral

Kenya’s ambassador to the DRC Amb. Dr. George Masafu praised the homely connection the former Kabuchai MP had. He said working away form home, he occasionally tuned in to Mukwe’s videos, which struck a connection with him. “Being away, I appreciated Mukwe more than when I was here and I learnt more about our language,” he said.

However, the politics of Luhya unity was also prevalent, with calls for leaders form the region to unite and find a common ground. Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala said the time has come to sieve those who don’t qualify to be the community leaders, saying that Luhya unity shouldn’t benefit leaders alone. “We need leaders who want to lead the community to say what they stand for,” he stated, adding that one must be able to stand for the Presidency.

He said the regional leader should also be accepted in other regions across the country, sentiments which were echoed by Sirisia MP John Waluke, “Walking around Western shouldn’t be the main tactic, what kind of politics is that?” posed Waluke, “As a region we will give you the votes, but we need to see you in other parts of the country.”

Trans Nzoia woman representative Janet Nangabo urged the leaders present, singling out Governors Wycliffe Wangamati, Wycliffe Oparanya, Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka and Senator Moses Wetangula to scrutinize their positions regarding leading the region. She said women leaders should take over the region’s affairs if the men are unable to.

A section of those in attendance

On his part, Westlands MP Tim Wanyonyi said Luhyas should sit down and chart a common way forward, “It’s said that Luhyas only make declarations in funerals,” he stated. He said Luhyas who reside in Nairobi should also steer the political agenda from there, citing Raila Odinga, who drives his campaigns from Nairobi but has a huge following in Nyanza.

UNCTAD secretary general and former Minister Mukhisa Kituyi echoed calls for unity and said Western residents who are eligible to vote should ensure they have IDs to turn the huge population in their favors, “If you have numbers without IDs, you have no voters, if you have no voters you don’t count.” He urged Governors to push a drive to ensure residents eligible to vote have IDs.