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November 17, 2018

I'm not to blame for Wamalwa's fate in Uhuru's Cabinet, says Lusaka

President Uhuru Kenyatta congratulates Eugene Wamalwa during his swearing in as Cabinet Secretary for Water and Irrigation at State House in Nairobi, July 9, 2015. /PSCU
President Uhuru Kenyatta congratulates Eugene Wamalwa during his swearing in as Cabinet Secretary for Water and Irrigation at State House in Nairobi, July 9, 2015. /PSCU

Senate speaker Kenneth Lusaka has denied claims that he is in the way of Eugene Wamalwa's appointment to the new Cabinet.

Wamwala, the current Water Cabinet Secretary, is one of 13 ministers whose names were not in Uhuru's first list.

More on this: Uhuru drops 13 Cabinet Secretaries, fires cops

Lusaka, who is attending a speakers' forum in Victoria, Seychelles, told The Star he has nothing to do with the placements and is following events through the media, "just like any other person".

"The crux of the matter is that I have never used my proximity to power to fight anyone for any reasons whatsoever. I have instead used it to build the capacities of our people to harness the resources of our community."

Lusaka, who is former Bungoma Governor, said his record could be confirmed with a review of his 28 years of public service.

The former Governor joined politics late but his star has been shining, a situation that political observers say has rattled Wamalwa and his supporters.

 He was rewarded with the speaker position for campaigning for President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto ahead of the August 8 general election.

Details: Lusaka took the bullet for Jubilee in Bungoma - analysts

There has been talk that the two could be angling for the running mate position in 2022 general elections.

Their supporters have clashed on social media on who should be Jubilee Party's point man in the region. 

Wamalwa has declined to comment on the matter but his lieutenants and close allies have jammed Bungoma and Trans Nzoia social media groups attacking the president and Lusaka for leaving him out.

Lusaka blamed the bad blood with Wamalwa on unnamed political brokers who are "hell bent on waging a war between us".

"God knows my heart and my convictions and in the fullness of time, when the Cabinet is fully named, people will be ashamed," he said in a statement.

Sirisia MP John Waluke, who is the county's Jubilee chairman, said Uhuru and Ruto assured them that Wamalwa will be in the Cabinet.

He absolved Lusaka of blame, noting he is not the appointing authority.

Western politicians Ababu Namwamba, Paul Otuoma and KRA director Evans Kakai have also been fronted for positions. Former PS ludeki Chweya is being fronted by Kanu chairman and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi.

Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka greets DP William Ruto and President Uhuru Kenyatta during his homecoming ceremony in Bungoma county, September 29, 2017. /PSCU

MPs threaten to leave Jubilee

Meanwhile, five Bungoma MPs have threatened to quit Jubilee Party should Wamalwa not get a Cabinet post.

They are Dan Wanyama (Webuye West), John Waluke (Sirisia), Didymus Barasa (Kimilili), Fred Kapondi (Mt Elgon) and Mwambu Mabonga (Bumula).

The lawmakers noted the minister "contributed greatly" to Jubilee's victory in last year's presidential elections by "campaigning vigorously" in western.

They said he helped the ruling coalition win five parliamentary seats and form the majority in the Trans Nzoia county assembly. Jubilee retained the woman representative seat (Reginalda Wanyonyi) and defeated Moses Wetang'ula's Ford Kenya party in the senator race. Weang'ula is Bungoma Senator and one of four principals of the National Super Alliance.

Read: Reward 'campaigner' Wamalwa with CS post, Kuttuny tells Uhuru

Spaaking to The Star on Monday after their closed-door meeting, Barasa noted they were not begging President Uhuru Kenyatta to appoint Wamalwa.

"Uhuru can do what he feels is good for him as either way, we will also know what course of action to take on behalf of the community," he said by phone.

"We know how much Wamalwa has sacrificed for Jubilee. He even dissolved New Ford Kenya party to join Jubilee."

The MP regretted that Uhuru's party convinced the CS not to vie for Trans Nzoia Governor "only to turn around and dump him in the cold".

"When we were looking for votes we said the cow was being slaughtered while standing but agreed that we would be given three CSs. Wamalwa and Environment CS Judi Wakhungu were to be retained and one was to join the team.

"But look at what has happened. It is contrary to what we agreed. We as western MPs will not be taken for a ride since we know the interests of the people are more important than the interests of a party or a government."

More on this: Water CS Wamalwa out of Trans Nzoia governor race to ‘campaign for Jubilee’

'Jubilee grooming Lusaka'

Barasa also noted the Water ministry has not been rocked by any scandals so Wamalwa should remain in the minister to finish projects initiated across the country.

"Uhuru can either retain him or not. We will not beg him but we shall consider our next move," he reiterated.

The legislator said Jubilee and western MPs reached an agreement for some of them to chair House committees but that has not been the case.

Barasa lashed out at National Assembly Majority leader Aden Duale, saying he has forgotten the troubles that surrounded the security Bill when Somalis were linked to al Shabaab terrorists.

Regarding Senate Speaker Kenneth Marende, he said the community has not received any support and that only his family is enjoying the benefits.

Bungoma-based political analyst John Wanyama claimed Wamalwa will be left out of the Cabinet as Jubilee wants to groom Lusaka.

"DP William Ruto is determined to be on the ballot and take the Kalenjin community, with a suitable neighbour, to State House," he said.

"If Wamalwa will not be named as CS, it will be a big blow. It will give Lusaka advantage as he will be the senior-most state politician from the region."

He advised the CS to join NASA party Ford Kenya which he said will accept him and lead him back to the people.

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