Inside plan to topple Musalia and Weta in Western

Uhuru gives goodies to Oparanya, Eugene seen as deadly arsenal against Musalia and Wetang'ula

In Summary
  • Oparanya and Wamalwa led a delegation of western leaders to meet President Uhuru Kenyatta at his Harambee House office in Nairobi.
  • The team lobbied for top government positions in the expected Cabinet reshuffle.
ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi and his Ford Kenya counterpart Moses Wetangula at the Musalia Mudavadi Centre on Tuesday, May 26, 2020.
ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi and his Ford Kenya counterpart Moses Wetangula at the Musalia Mudavadi Centre on Tuesday, May 26, 2020.

A scheme to elbow ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya's Moses Wetang'ula from the helm of western region politics is in the offing.

 The Star has established that Cotu boss Francis Atwoli, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa are out to render Musalia and Wetang'ula politically irrelevant.

The apparent goodwill by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Oparanya and Eugene has also given the two the arsenal to politically cut Musalia and Wetang'ula to size.

Oparanya is a close ally of Opposition chief Raila Odinga and is his second in command in the ODM Party

Mudavadi and Wetang’ula have previously been seen as the strongest Luhya leaders.

On Wednesday, Oparanya and Eugene led a delegation of western leaders to meet Uhuru at his Harambee House office in Nairobi.

The President promised many goodies to the region.

Neither Mudavadi and Wetang’ula nor their allies attended.

Sources said Uhuru promised to write off all the debts of the cash-strapped Mumias Sugar, once the economic mainstay of the region.

Uhuru also agreed to waive all taxes owed to KRA by the sugar miller, some attendees said. 

By February, Mumias, currently under receivership, owed creditors Sh4.8 billion, excluding taxes, penalties and fines.

There has been an outcry from Western to have Mumias Sugar resuscitated. 

"The President also promised to tour the region once the threat of Covid-19 is contained," a source at the meeting said. 

The development came just days after the rehabilitation of the Kakamega Airstrip started.

Oparanya said the plan is to upgrade the airstrip to international standards.

It's not clear if Uhuru has fallen out with Mudavadi, a man he has always admired and almost ditched the presidential race in favour of in 2013.

It is also understood that the team lobbied for top government positions in the expected Cabinet reshuffle.

The leaders argued that the region has only one Cabinet slot: that of Eugene who hails from Trans Nzoia county which is regionally in the Rift Valley.

The Harambee House meeting brought governors Oparanya, Sospeter Ojaamong (Busia), Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma), Wilbur Ottichilo (Vihiga) and Patrick Khaemba (Trans-Nzoia) to the table. Atwoli was also present.

Soon after the meeting, Atwoli informed his social media fans of what transpired.

“We will continue championing for a better Western with a thriving economy,” he said.

Oparanya and Wamalwa's tours of Western started soon after a meeting at Atwoli’s Kajiado home on May 29. The trade unionist hosted about 40 MPs from Western.

Days later, Atwoli announced he will host a second Bukhungu Stadium rally to declare the Western Kenya spokesman.

Awoli had already declared Mudavadi the Luhya spokesperson in June 2017.

And on June 18, Oparanya again led Western leaders to a meeting with cabinet secretaries and secured promises of development in the region by the national government.

The meeting was chaired by Interior CS Fred Matiang'i who is also the chairman of the National Development Implementation Communication Cabinet Committee.

Matiang'i assured residents of Western that the government would complete stalled projects and open up the region for trade.

Oparanya nonetheless said the meeting was not political but was meant to ensure people in Western Kenya access good services.

Kimilili MP Didmas Barasa dismissed the Harambee House meeting saying it was all about 2022 succession politics.

He said if President Uhuru was committed to rolling out development projects in Western, he would have done so already. 

"Last week we approved the last supplementary budget. No projects we have proposed before have been factored in," Barasa told the Star

Lugari MP Ayub Savula appeared to have softened his earlier hard line position when two weeks ago he had told the Star that he had "no business attending meetings with CSs".

The ANC deputy party leader now says that with the President taking over the matters, "there is some light at the end of the tunnel."

"What I was opposed to was the issue of attending time-wasting meetings with CSs who had no ability to address concerns. We have previously presented those issues before budget committee but they were not captured," he said.

Savula added, "That meeting was the right direction. I fully support the idea of meeting the President who signs such operations. But not a meeting with CS."

After the Harambee House meeting, a State House dispatch said the President and the leaders discussed the ongoing government efforts to revive the ailing sugar sector especially Mumias and Nzoia sugar factories.

The sugar sector revival report generated by a Presidential task force co-chaired by Agriculture CS Peter Munya and Oparanya was deliberated.

State House said Uhuru assured the leaders of the government's commitment to reviving the sector by fast-tracking the implementation of the sugar task force report.

The leaders assured the President that he has the full support of Western region in securing his legacy.

The chairman of the Luhya Council of Elders Philip Masinde said Wednesday’s meeting was more about politics of the region than its development agenda.

“Those who attended want to be seen as contact persons from western region. They want to endear themselves to the President and get a Cabinet position for someone from western. They will then go round to tell people in western that they have the interests of the region at heart,” he said.

After overhauling parliamentary leadership, the President is said to be working on changes in government.

Some cabinet secretaries and CASs will be dropped as he races to secure his legacy.

The new team will exclude top government officials who have shown interest in going for elective posts during the 2022 general elections.

Some CSs are said to be nurturing gubernatorial and even presidential ambitions.

Senate Majority Whip Irungu Kang’ata is on record saying a Cabinet reshuffle is in the offing.

“Changes in the Cabinet are inevitable and that will definitely happen,” Kang’ata said on June 6.

Wetang’ula is also facing turbulent times in Ford Kenya and claims the plot to remove him as party leader was hatched in Kajiado.

But Atwoli distanced himself from the ongoing Ford Kenya party wrangles which has pitted Wetang'ula against Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi.


(edited by o. owino)