MPs ‘dump’ cau­cus as party in­ter­ests take cen­tre stage

‘Group agenda got lost when po­lit­i­cal party in­ter­ests over­took com­mu­nity goals’

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties Western - HIL­TON OTENYO @hiltonotenyo

The projects in the pop­u­lar wish list pre­sented by West­ern MPs to Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta at State House last year may not be com­pleted be­fore the elec­tion, fol­low­ing the im­mi­nent col­lapse of a cau­cus.

In June last year, 25 West­ern MPs, led by Bu­dalang’i’s Ababu Namwamba, met Uhuru and Deputy Pres­i­dent Wil­liam Ruto to dis­cuss ways to up­lift the re­gion’s eco­nomic sta­tus and re­vive the strug­gling Mu­mias Sugar Com­pany.

The gov­ern­ment agreed to set aside Sh1 bil­lion for the ail­ing firm. It has so far re­leased Sh 3.3 bil­lion to Mu­mias Sugar.

The lead­ers, un­der the West­ern Par­lia­men­tary Cau­cus, pre­sented a list of projects, in­clud­ing the com­ple­tion of the Kisumu-Kakamega-We­buye and Si­gala­gala-Butere-Sidindi roads started by the grand coali­tion gov­ern­ment.

The projects have dragged on for more than five years.

Uhuru post­poned his visit to the re­gion from to­day to next Thurs­day. He trav­elled to Morocco for the COP cli­mate con­fer­ence. Uhuru was sup­posed to pre­side over Kibabii Univer­sity’s first grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony in Bun­goma county.

Other roads the MPs pro­posed for tar­ma­ck­ing in­clude the Ibokolo-Shi­anda- Malaha- Nam­bacha, Lu­rambi-Nam­bacha- Musikoma, Musikoma-Buy­ofu-Nam­bale and Turbo-Sikhendu roads.

Lu­gari MP Ayub Savula yes­ter­day said, “I led the first meet­ing to State House, where we pre­sented a num­ber of roads we wanted tar­mar­cked and pro­posed pro­fes­sion­als for ap­point­ment to state cor­po­ra­tions and other jobs.”

The sec­ond meet­ing was led by chair­man John Bun­yasi (Nam­bale). Savula said the group’s ef­forts were in vain be­cause only Water CS Eu­gene Wa­malwa was ap­pointed.

The group’s main agenda was to col­lec­tively en­gage the gov­ern­ment on press­ing is­sues, re­gard­less of the po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tions of mem­bers.

Savula said the group’s agenda got lost when po­lit­i­cal party in­ter­ests over­took the com­mu­nity goals and ev­ery­one went his way.

“It is only to­day that our group sec­re­tary Malulu In­jendi (Malava) sent text mes­sages to mem­bers to sup­port Fun­yula MP Paul Otuoma fol­low­ing the death of his son,” he said.

Savula said ODM mem­bers lost trust in Bun­yasi and ac­cused him of driv­ing the agenda of ANC.

Mem­bers from Ju­bilee also saw their ODM coun­ter­parts as ad­vanc­ing their party ideals, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to hold to­gether, the MP said.

Washiali told the Star on the phone yes­ter­day, “We re­alised the at­ten­dance was re­duc­ing by the day. The last meet­ing was held at Sa­ba­tia MP Alfred Agoi’s home in Vi­higa county with­out rep­re­sen­ta­tion from Bun­goma county.”

He said mem­bers are will­ing con­tinue push­ing the cau­cus agenda, but po­lit­i­cal in­ter­ests are pulling them apart. The im­mi­nent col­lapse of the group means lead­ers con­tinue to op­er­ate in­de­pen­dently, slow­ing down devel­op­ment.

In­jendi said the group achieved some of its goals, in­clud­ing push­ing for the award of a char­ter to Kibabii Univer­sity to make it the sec­ond fullfledged univer­sity in the re­gion.

“We can­not say the roads we re­quested to be built have been ig­nored be­cause the gov­ern­ment works through clear struc­tures and most of them are at the ten­der stage,” he said.

In­jendi said the group is still ac­tive. “It’s just that mem­bers re­spect each other’s po­si­tions,” he said.

The West­ern Par­lia­men­tary Cau­cus held a two-day re­treat in Bu­sia town last year. Is­sues dis­cussed in­cluded the fail­ure of a can­di­date from West­ern to se­cure the chair­man­ship of the par­lia­men­tary Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee fol­low­ing Namwamba’s re­moval.

The ail­ing Mudete tea fac­tory was also dis­cussed.

/PSCU

Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta (in blue jacket) and West­ern lead­ers ar­rive for the open­ing of the Lwakhakha border post in Bun­goma county on No­vem­ber 16 last year

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kenya

© PressReader. All rights reserved.