- Says they discussed how to partners with President Uhuru Kenyatta for development that can uplift people's living standards.
- Critics claim the meeting was convened to define the region’s political future as the country gears for the 2022 succession.
Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong has denied that the meeting in which he hosted his Kakamega counterpart Wycliffe Oparanya and Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa at his home at the weekend was political.
Ojaamong on Tuesday said the meeting held at his Okilidu home in Teso South subcounty on Saturday was solely about development.
He said politics to do with Luhya unity and the realignments ahead of the 2022 General Election was not discussed.
He said among issues discussed at length was how leaders from Western can partner with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration to activate development to improve the livelihoods of residents in the region's five counties of Kakamega, Bungoma, Busia, Trans Nzoia and Vihiga.
The meeting was also attended by Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati and Luhya Council of Elders chairman Patrick Wangamati.
Critics claim the meeting was convened to define the region’s political future as the country gears for the 2022 succession.
“My decision to team up with Council of Governors chairman Wycliffe Oparanya and Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa has nothing to do with 2022 General Elections,” Ojaamong said in a statement.
“Our coming together is to seek partnership with the national government and development partners to have more resources channelled to this region as well as to solidify the unity of our communities.”
The meeting was convened after Oparanya and Eugene met both the Bukusu Council of Elders and the Sabaot Council of Elders. The meeting with Sabaot elders was held at Eugene’s home in Kitale.
Ojaamong's meeting also took place less than two weeks after Oparanya and the CS and other leaders from Western, including Ojaamong, met Cotu secretary general Francis Atwoli at the unionist's Kajiado home. The meeting received both praise and criticism from across the political divide.
Ojaamong said the money Western counties receive from the national government every financial year is inadequate to fund development that can uplift the living standards of residents.
He said leaders from the region will continue meeting for purposes of devising ways of supporting the livelihoods of their people.
“The resources from the exchequer cannot meet all demands of the counties in this region, thus the need to seek closer working ties with the national government and other partners to push economies of our counties to greater heights,” Ojaamong said.
“Issues of whether one should be a spokesperson or not is not in our agenda. What we need is to achieve the unity of the region and to have resources channelled to counties for the benefit of our people.”
Oparanya and Eugene on Saturday said they will pursue unity among communities in Western Kenya through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
Oparanya said he will continue advocating for unity among members of the Luhya community in solidarity with Teso and Sabaot communities.
Luhya, Teso and Sabaot are Western region’s main communities.
“We agreed that we will work together through the BBI after the meeting we held in Kajiado,” Oparanya said.
“We have met with the Sabaot and Bukusu elders, and we will continue to bring these people together based on our Kajiado resolution.”
During the Kajiado meeting, Atwoli and Oparanya were tasked with spearheading negotiations for the revival of the region's economy.
Oparanya alongside Eugene and Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka were mandated to lead formal negotiations to ensure Luhyas have a say on all fronts.
Eugene said elders will play a key role in ensuring unity among residents.
“Where there are elders, things never go wrong,” Eugene said after the meeting at Ojaamong’s home.
“The vision of these elders is to see that all communities in Western live in peace and unity.”
“I want to thank members of the Teso Elders Council who have blessed Governor Ojaamong to become the Iteso community leader as he walks along with Governor Oparanya so that we continue uniting our people.”
Edited by P.O