Urge res­i­dents to reg­is­ter as vot­ers – el­ders

Wanga­mati says lead­ers not ag­gres­sive in their quest to pro­duce a Pres­i­dent

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties Western - BRIAN OJAMAA @ojamab

Luhya lead­ers are not com­mit­ted to cap­tur­ing the coun­try’s top seat, el­ders have said.

Luhya Coun­cil of El­ders chair­man Patrick Wanga­mati said the lead­ers from the com­mu­nity are not ded­i­cated and ag­gres­sive enough in their quest to pro­duce a Pres­i­dent, de­spite hav­ing three hope­fuls in the race.

He spoke at Ma­banga Farm­ers Train­ing Cen­tre, Kan­duyi sub­county, on Wed­nes­day dur­ing the first Bukusu Coun­cil of El­ders con­fer­ence.

The event brought to­gether el­ders from Bun­goma, Trans Nzoia and Kakamega coun­ties.

Luhya politi­cians who have de­clared in­ter­est in the pres­i­dency are Ford Kenya leader and Bun­goma Se­na­tor Moses We­tang’ula, for­mer Lu­gari MP Cyrus Jirongo and ANC leader Musalia Mu­davadi.

The lead­ers have on many oc­ca­sions asked other re­gions that have al­ways been sup­ported by the Luhyas to re­turn the favour in next year’s elec­tion.

Wanga­mati, who is a Ford Kenya nom­i­nated MP, said it is em­bar­rass­ing that Luhya lead­ers only en­gage in ret­ro­gres­sive pol­i­tics, witch-hunt­ing, mal­ice, mud­sling­ing and chest-thump­ing on who should run for pres­i­dent. He said they should in­stead en­cour­age res­i­dents to reg­is­ter as vot­ers.

“We have a min­i­mal num­ber of reg­is­tered vot­ers, yet we are still chest-thump­ing on who is bet­ter than the other. What magic are we go­ing to use with­out reg­is­tered vot­ers?” he asked. “If we can­not get our peo­ple to reg­is­ter as vot­ers, then we are not se­ri­ous.”

Wanga­mati said West­ern, which has a pop­u­la­tion of four mil­lion, only listed 1.6 mil­lion in this year’s mass voter regis­tra­tion. “How can we be talk­ing about pres­i­den­tial am­bi­tions and blam­ing other com­mu­ni­ties like the Kikuyu and the Kalen­jin whose lead­ers have made a good ini­tia­tive of reg­is­ter­ing all their peo­ple?” he asked.

Wanga­mati said Cord leader Raila Odinga is ag­gres­sive, but his com­mu­nity has fewer num­bers com­pared to the Luhya. “Luos are few. They are not as many as Kalen­jins, but if we were ag­gres­sive like them and reg­is­tered our peo­ple in large num­bers, we would stand a bet­ter chance to take over the lead­er­ship of this coun­try,” he said.

Those who at­tended the event were Trans Nzoia Gover­nor Patrick Khaemba, East and Cen­tral King of Aba­masaba Umuukuka Bob Mushiko­mari, for­mer Angli­can Church Arch­bishop Eliud Wabukala and Bun­goma Cul­ture ex­ec­u­tive Grace Khay­ota.

In Au­gust Mu­davadi, We­tang’ula and Jirongo agreed to hold joint ral­lies to present a sin­gle can­di­date in 2017. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of ANC, Ford Kenya and UDP said they had been meet­ing in Nairobi to agree on how to unite the re­gion and re­store its po­lit­i­cal honour.

Cotu sec­re­tary gen­eral Fran­cis At­woli said he will un­veil a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date for the Luhya com­mu­nity in Kakamega. He said they will ne­go­ti­ate with other friendly com­mu­ni­ties for a deal putting the com­mu­nity in a bet­ter po­si­tion to seek the coun­try’s lead­er­ship.

“Those who do not see­ing what we’re do­ing will be sur­prised the Luhya com­mu­nity can vote for one can­di­date,” he said.

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