The Vihiga Cultural Society, organisers of the Annual Maragoli Festival have apologized to Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa for the hostile reception in Mbale on Boxing Day.
The society's leaders Bernard Chahilu (chairman), Hezekiah Kisali (secretary) and Jotham Savatia (treasurer) have written to Wamalwa expressing their sympathy.
The letter, seen by the Star, was copied to the society's patron Musalia Mudavadi and Vihiga Governor Wilbur Otichillo."W wish to assure you that neither the leadership of the society nor its patron had anything to do with the hostile reception you got from the crowd," the letter reads.
“In fact the patron pleaded to no avail,” said the letter.
But some legislators yesterday demanded that Eugene, as he is popularly known, instead apologises to the Maragoli people for gate-crushing and disrupting their cultural day.
Wamalwa arrived at the ground in the afternoon when Mudavadi was addressing the crowd.
A regular guest of the festival, Wamalwa thought it was business as usual when he stepped out of his vehicle and waved to the crowd that waved back bye-bye.
As if he did not understand the bye he proceeded to the empty seat that was left by Mudavadi who was addressing the well attended festival.
Mudavadi tried to calm the Nasa supporters who were saying “hatutaki Jubilee hapa” (we don’t want Jubilee people here”).
the Nasa co-principal and ANC party leader then led Wamalwa to his car to save him from the unruly crowd as police shot in the air to clear the way for him to exit.
Wamalwa later blamed Mudavadi for failing to contain his own people saying that the event had been reduced to a Maragoli affair rather than a Luhya unifying celebration.
However, the officials said the society is is non political cultural group that believes in Luhyia unity.
“We sincerely hope the regrettable incident will not affect the very good relationship between our sister communities of the Bukusu and Maragoli,” the
and hoped the CS will accept the apology.
The MPs said in a statement that nothing of the sort has ever occurred in the 38 years existence of the festival and accused the CS of being used to cause disharmony in the Luhya community.
“Eugene must also apologise to the community and its spokesperson, ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi, by falsely accusing him of planning his ejection from the event,” Vihiga Women Rep Beatrice Adagala said.
“It is Mudavadi in his role as Luhya Spokesman who saved the day and Eugene’s life,” she said.
Luanda MP Chris Omulele
said it was unfortunate for a CS to attend a sacred event — the Maragoli Cultural Festival — with the sole purpose of provoking the people and gain mileage with Jubilee by maligning their leader.
“Those of us who attended the festival condemn the hidden agenda and subsequent lies by Eugene in the strongest terms possible. We do not expect such drool from a leader of his stature,” said Emuhaya MP Omboko Milemba.
"Of what value will Eugene fighting Mudavadi be to Luhya unity other than for him to gain favour with Jubilee echelons and be given a plum job,” said Saboti MP Caleb Amisi.
“It should now be obvious to all that Eugene was on a mission to destabilise the Luhya community by sparking an imaginary hostility between the Bukusu and Maragoli.”
They said Eugene was unwanted by the public not because he is a Bukusu but because he symbolises the Jubilee party.
"How can a person of his stature make false claims that Mudavadi arranged to have him beaten when the Luhya Spokesman saved him and helped avert bloodshed Eugene had planned!"
They accused Eugene of seeking relevance for reappointment.