2022 SUCCESSION POLITICS

Bukhungu meeting likely to undermine Luhya leaders, elders say

In Summary
  • President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga are expected to attend the meeting.
  • Organisers maintain that the event is meant to give locals a platform to air their views on the BBI report.
COTU sec.gen. Francis Atwoli
COTU sec.gen. Francis Atwoli

The Western Elders Council has distanced itself from the January 18 meeting in Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega to discuss the Building Bridges Initiative report.

They said they will stay away from the gathering because of the likelihood of the meeting being turned into a rally to undermine “some of our senior Luhya political leaders and impose foreigners on us.”

“We wonder what kind of ‘expert’ briefing can anyone conduct with 35,000 people in Bukhungu Stadium?” the elders said in a statement.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga are expected to attend the meeting.

“The truth is that Uhuru’s name is being used to entice the reluctant elders because there is no logic in a President attending a BBI seminar where he isn’t a participant or expert facilitator,” the elders added.

Cotu secretary general Francis Atwoli and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya are spearheading the January 18 meeting.

The Bukhungu meeting was mooted on Boxing Day at Atwoli’s residence in Khwisero in Kakamega, attended by Raila and Oparanya.

The senior elders claimed they were duped into meeting in Atwoli’s house where they were allegedly asked to scout for 100 elders per constituency to attend the BBI seminar.

“We now know the fraudulent BBI training is a trick to secure Raila an audience with elders and locals in order to resuscitate dwindling ODM fortunes in the region,” the elders stated.

 Western Elders Council chairman Philip Masinde said they will not be part of the meeting because it could undermine unity in the region.

A section of the politicians , led by ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi, have warned that the meeting is likely to be used to whip up ethnic emotions for the political gain of certain individuals.

However, a faction led by Oparanya maintains that the event is meant to give locals a platform to air their views on the BBI report.

Leaders opposed to the meeting have further questioned Atwoli’s role in preparing a national government function.

The elders said they were not consulted and therefore do not want to be party to the meeting.

They clarified that they do not represent the Luhya tribe alone since membership of the council also has elders from Teso, Tachoni and Sabaot communities.

“We are respected elders bestowed with the enormous and respectable responsibility to guide our region into unity, harmony and progress. We therefore cannot allow ourselves to be used to undermine the very essence of our mandate by supporting divisive politics,” the statement added.

“How can you have training of 35,000 people at a stadium? We are not fools.”