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November 21, 2018

Luhya leaders take another shot at uniting community

Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya watering a tree seedling he planted at Bishop Sulumeti girls' high school during the commissioning of the school's administration block on Friday July 6, 2018./HILTON OTENYO
Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya watering a tree seedling he planted at Bishop Sulumeti girls' high school during the commissioning of the school's administration block on Friday July 6, 2018./HILTON OTENYO

Luhya leaders have agreed to unite to increase the community’s chances of ascending to power.

ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi, UDP leader Cyrus Jirongo, Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa and Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya said leaders must work together to make an impact in national politics.

The call is a break from the past where leaders talked about unity when elections neared but forgot about it once the polls were over.

“The much-needed unity will succeed only if we accept to be led and end the mindset of ‘it must be me’. We must go back to the table and rethink how we’ve been doing things,” Eugene said.

He said an attempt to unite the region ahead of the 2013 General Election failed after some leaders opted to support ODM’s Raila Odinga, leaving him to support Mudavadi on the UDF ticket.

Jirongo said Luhyas must work together if they want to command respect.

“What we need is to look for resources and agree to rally behind the candidate who stands a better chance of winning the presidency. It is not about shouting at funerals that we want to be President. The notion that Mudavadi and I divide the Luhyas is fatally wrong,” he said.

The leaders spoke on Saturday during the burial of former Kenya Sugar Board chairman Francis Chahonyo at Hombala Secondary School in Vihiga county.

Oparanya told Mudavadi to effectively play his role as the Luhya spokesman and unite the community leaders.

Mudavadi was installed Luhya supremo by Cotu secretary general Francis Atwoli on December 31, 2016, in Bukhungu Stadium.

Oparanya said although he supports plans by Mudavadi and his Ford Kenya counterpart Moses Wetang’ula to merge their parties, the initiative should involve all leaders from the community.

“Luhyas are united but it us the leaders who are wavering and portraying the community as divided,” the governor said.

Mudavadi asked leaders to stop concentrating on “small issues” that divide them.

“It is not easy to build leaders, but it is very easy to destroy them,” he said.

In May, Mudavadi assured Western leaders that everyone will be included in his Luhya unity initiative with Wetang’ula.

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