The Vihiga Governor, Wilber Ottichilo has thrown his weight behind the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary General, Francis Atwoli and the Devolution Cabinet Secretary (CS), Eugene Wamalwa’s efforts to galvanise the Luhya community into a formidable force ahead of the 2022 general elections.
Dr. Ottichilo declared his support for the initiative when he led Vihiga Council of Elders to a consultative forum with the Wamalwa-Atwoli caucus at Ebunangwe Secondary School in Emuhaya Sub County on Sunday.
The council of elders comprised of leaders representing the Maragoli, Banyore and Tiriki sub tribes that inhabit Vihiga County.
The Vihiga Council of Elders’ resolution statement was read by Chairperson Fred Omido.
“The Vihiga Council of Elders fully supports resolutions made by Luhya leaders at a meeting held on the 29th May, 2020 at COTU Secretay General Francis Atwoli’s Kajiado home,” read the statement.
Vihiga elders cited their support for Devolution CS , the Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Senate Speaker, Kenneth Lusaka as the community’s official spokespersons and leaders tasked with spearheading negotiations aimed at uniting all tribes of the populous Luhya community.
“We officially affirm our support for the March 2018 Handshake between President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and former Prime Minister, Raila Amolo Odinga,” declared the elders who appealed to residents of Vihiga County to rally behind the same.
They further hailed the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), noting it was the only cure for uniting all Kenyan ethnic communities for the sake of continued economic growth and development both at the national and devolved levels.
Governor Ottichilo urged leaders of various groups in the county to support the Luhya unity initiative.
“This is a noble initiative whose prime objective is to ensure western region is part of this and subsequent governments,” stated Ottichilo, adding it was time the Luhya community invested wisely in national politics.
“The train has left the station,” remarked Ottichilo who urged those opposed to the movement to change their stance so that they are not left out.
While drumming up support for the initiative, Governor Oparanya reiterated the main aim as being to lobby for the community’s increased representation in the national government.
“We are neither interested in self-centered politics nor scuttling political ambitions for our grumbling brothers and sisters,” said Oparanya in veiled criticism to the growing displeasure within Amani National Congress (ANC) leader, Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya Party leader, Moses Wetang’ula’s political camps.
Other leaders present included, the Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong, the Vihiga Deputy Governor, Dr. Patrick Saisi, the National Assembly Majority Whip, Emmanuel Wangwe, legislators Benard Shinali (Ikolomani) and Godfrey Osotsi (Nominated),former Speaker of National Assembly, Kenneth Marende and former Member of Parliament, Dr. Noah Wekesa.
By Maurice Aluda