In Summary
  • Mr Mudavadi, Vihiga Senator George Khaniri and Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi said the community has been marginalised and sidelined despite its huge potential for economic growth.
  • Senator Khaniri had a message for Mr Odinga. He asked him to inform the President that Western region leaders would like to meet him and discuss the matter of collapsed industries.
  • Mr Khaniri noted that Western enjoyed a substantial number of appointments during retired President Daniel Moi’s administration and that of founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.
  • County chiefs led by Kakamega's Wycliffee Oparanya proposed establishment of economic blocs to spur growth.

Several key issues for Western region leaders were brought to the fore during the consultative forum on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) that took place in Kakamega County on Saturday.

Among leaders who attended the mega meeting were Raila Odinga (Orange Democratic Movement), Musalia Mudavadi (Amani National Congress) and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang'ula (Ford Kenya).

Also present was Council of Governors Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega) and Francis Atwoli, Secretary-General of the Central Organisation of Trade Unions.

MARGINALISATION

Mr Mudavadi, Vihiga Senator George Khaniri and Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi said the community has been marginalised and sidelined despite its huge potential for economic growth.

They asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to ensure professionals from the region are given an opportunity to serve in key positions in his administration.

Mr Mudavadi said that although Kenya is Uganda's largest trading partner by volume, communities from Western do not benefit.

“The benefits are felt in Nairobi but nothing trickles down to the region,” he said.

COLLAPSED INDUSTRIES

Senator Khaniri had a message for Mr Odinga. He asked him to inform the President that Western region leaders would like to meet him and discuss the matter of collapsed industries.

He noted that the collapse has hampered economic growth in the area.

The leaders want the government to urgently revive Mumias Sugar Company, which is currently under receivership, and the debt-ridden Nzoia Sugar Company.

“We would like the government to waive the ailing sugar millers' debts and bail out tea farmers," he said.

APPOINTMENTS

Mr Khaniri further noted that Western enjoyed a substantial number of appointments during retired President Daniel arap Moi’s administration and that of founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.

His remarks echoed what several leaders said at the meeting at Bukhungu Stadium -- that the BBI is the only way for Luhyas to secure a top seat in the government after the next poll.

Mr Atwoli said he will ensure the community produces a top leader come the 2022 General Election.

The Cotu boss asked Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang'ula to dissolve their parties and forge an alliance to demonstrate their seriousness about the community's unity.

While praising Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang'ula for attending the meeting, CS Wamalwa said it proved critics of Luhya unity wrong.

Kanu Secretary-General Nick Salat said it was unfortunate that divisions among the region's leaders had created disadvantages in their quest for the presidency.

ECONOMIC BLOCS

Governors Oparanya, Wilber Ottichilo (Vihiga), Patrick Wangamati (Bungoma), Sospeter Ojaamong (Busia) and Patrick Khaemba (Trans Nzoia) said they fully support the BBI since the region will benefit from its recommendations.

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