Wetangula vows to lead Luhya unity crusade after fallout with Odinga

April 8, 2018 10:00 am
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“My friend Raila must know I have nothing personal against him but my political partnership with him has ended.”/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 8 – Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula has vowed to lead a campaign to unite the Luhya community after falling out with the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga.

Wetangula who was recently ousted from the Senate Minority leadership by mainly ODM Senators said he will not reconsider working with Odinga accusing the Orange party chief of betrayal.

“My friend Raila must know I have nothing personal against him but my political partnership with him has ended. So you Luhya’s should not be shy when you’re told to unite so that we’re attractive to form political alliances with other communities,” the leader of the Forum for Restoration Democracy – Kenya told a public gathering in Nalondo, Kanduyi constituency, in Bungoma County on Saturday.

Wetangula said he will rally his community to unite with other communities for the purposes of forming the next government.

“The cane Raila has used on me is the same he used on Michael Wamalwa who went on to become a Vice President, he did it to Kalonzo Musyoka who became Vice President, repeated it on William Ruto and he’s now the Deputy President. He’s caned me… I will even emerge better than his three previous victims,” he said.

The Bungoma Senator, a co-leader of the now disintegrating National Super Alliance (NASA) spoke a day after a two-week timeline given to minority Senators ostensibly to reconsider their move to replace Wetangula with Siaya Senator James Orengo (ODM).

The timeline given following a meeting held at a Nairobi hotel on March 22 lapsed on April 5 with no indications whether NASA senators had indeed retreated to deliberate upon Wetangula’s fate.

“Senators have expressed themselves frankly on this issue and Senator Wetangula has also had an opportunity to respond to some of the issues raised by the senators,” Odinga said following the meeting with the NASA Senators which was also attended by alliance co-leader, Wiper Democratic Movement party leader Musyoka.

“It has turned out that there are a number of issues that Senators need to deliberate upon and therefore we’ve agreed that they will deal with issues that are contentious and report back to the summit within two weeks,” he remarked.

However, Wetangula, Musyoka as well as Amani National Congress party leader Musalia Mudavadi who snubbed the March 22 meeting have since adopted a different tone mainly focusing on strengthening their individual parties in readiness for the 2022 presidential election.

Last weekend, for instance, Musyoka announced plans to rebrand his Wiper party into the One Kenya Movement following a meeting with Kamba leaders who included Governors Charity Ngilu (Kitui), Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni) and former Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama.

Mudavadi on his part has recently joined Wetangula in calling for the unity of the Luhya community even as he maintained his criticism of NASA senators’ move to dethrone Wetangula.

Reports of cracks within NASA started emerging following the January 30 mock swearing-in of Odinga as the “People’s President” in the absence of alliance partners Musyoka, Wetangula, and Mudavadi.

Although disunity reports were dismissed at the time with pledges to have Musyoka take an oath as Odinga’s deputy at a later date, plans to install the Wiper leader never materialized.

Further squabbles were reported last month after Odinga reached out to President Uhuru Kenyatta, the two agreeing to end dissent that had characterized the country’s political landscape since last year’s divisive presidential election whose outcome NASA had disowned.

Musyoka, Mudavadi, and Wetangula had expressed concern over their exclusion in the unity deal but the three met Odinga during which meeting the ODM leader appraised his co-principals on what transpired at the Harambee House meeting convened on March 9.

The four had agreed at the meeting held three days after the Harambee House meeting to have various parties within NASA discuss Odinga’s deal with President Kenyatta but no progress has been reported since.

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