CS Wamalwa, Oparanya, Atwoli to lead talks on Western development, leadership inclusions

COTU boss Francis Atwoli and the Western region leaders who were present at the meeting in Kajiado. Photo/Courtesy

Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, and COTU boss Francis Atwoli will step forward to represent the Luhya community in talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga geared towards securing key development projects, leadership slots in government among other issues affecting the Western region, as leaders seek to stake a claim and benefits in the ongoing political realignments. This was arrived at in a meeting held on Friday at Francis Atwoli’s residence in Kajiado that brought together leaders from the Western region, including Governors, Senators, MPs.

Present were Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa, Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati, Vihiga Governor Wilber Ottichilo, Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong, Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala, 34 MPs including Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi, Tongaren MP David Eseli, Kwanza MP Ferdinand Wanyonyi, Saboti MP Caleb Amisi, Nairobi County speaker Beatrice Elachi and other several leaders.

Speaking after the meeting, Senator Malala said they’ve agreed as leaders of the Western region that they’ll work together to ensure the unity of the region and that they’ll engage President Kenyatta and Raila on issues pertaining the region. The issues of negotiations which will be carried forward by CS Wamalwa, Governor Oparanya, and Atwoli Include development of certain industries, including the granite industry in Vihiga, gold refining industry in Ikolomani in Kakamega, and the sugar industry. He added that they’ve also agreed that the community should have positions in the realignment of National Assembly and Senate leaderships.

In the meeting resolutions as outlined by Tongaren MP Eseli, the Western region community supports the handshake, and has resolved to speak in one voice on all national matters. “The community supports the handshake, the BBI and efforts by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga to unify the country,” he said. Projects that will be championed in negotiations are agricultural projects to spur development, revival of the sugar industry, and involvement of Western region Counties to benefit from the cherry fund. Eseli said they want inclusion of Western Counties in benefiting from the dairy fund. They’ve also proposed setting up of flood controlling dams, dams and dykes along River Nzoia.

Other resolutions to be the centre of talks include completion of road construction projects and rehabilitation of infrastructure including roads, schools destroyed by floods. Upgrade of airstrips and the construction of an airport. The setting up of water projects, which include the Kakamega,Bungoma bulk water dam, greater Mt Elgon-Busia water projects and Kabolet phase 2 water project in Trans Nzoia County.

However, the notable absence of some leaders including ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi, Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetangula drew attention, but speaking to the Atwoli rubbished any concerns. “They were not part of this meeting, they didn’t attend but they are with us,” he said. Earlier, Mudavadi met other leaders, Martha Karua, Peter Kenneth, and Sally Kosgei in Nairobi, as views of political alliances being formed continue escalating.