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Western Kenya Leaders vow to Push for Referendum

Calls for constitutional amendment took center stage during celebrations to mark the 39th anniversary of Luloologi cultural festival in Vihiga County on Wednesday.

Political leaders who addressed thousands of residents at Mbale municipal grounds expressed the need for changing some sections in the current constitution for peaceful general elections in future.

Among the key leaders who spoke at the annual event, included Amani National Congress (ANC) leader, Musalia Mudavadi, Devolution Cabinet Secretary (CS), Eugene Wamalwa, Bungoma Senator, Moses Wetang’ula, Makueni Governor Prof. Kivutha Kibwana, Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati and host Governor, Dr.Wilber Ottichilo.

Makueni Governor Prof. Kivutha Kibwana, Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa, Senator Moses Wetang’ula, Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati and ANC leader, Musalia Mudavadi at the latter’s Mululu home in Vihiga, where they met Bukusu and Maragoli councils of elders.

Others were Jubilee Party Vice Chairperson, David Murathe, Central Organisation of Trade Union (COTU) General Secretary, Francis Atwoli,  legislators, Fred Agoi (Sabatia), Omboko Milemba (Emuhaya) and Ayub Savula (Lugari).

The leaders took swipes at opponents for constitutional amendment, generally describing them as enemies of change and national development.

Wamalwa affirmed his support for referendum, saying it was the only way to ensure Kenya voters benefited from all inclusive governments in future.

“We want to do away with the winner takes it all attitude that has remained the source for post-election conflict and violence,” remarked Wamalwa.

COTU secretary echoed the CS’s sentiments and at the same time lashed out at Deputy President William Ruto who has on several occasions accused agitators’ constitutional amendment of scheming to expand constitutional offices.

“The deputy president must know countries the world over amend constitutions partly for purposes of creating constitutional offices,” noted Atwoli.

“The YES team will still floor the NO team as it happened in 2010,” predicted Atwoli who dared the DP to prepare for a bruising referendum battle.

Those opposed to constitutional change have accused proponents for seeking to create positions for election losers.

On his part, Mudavadi called for dismissal of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairperson, Wafula Chebukati before the anticipated plebiscite.

“The IEBC chairperson has publicly demonstrated his inability to preside over national polls, therefore he cannot be trusted with non-partisan handling of referendum,” alleged the ANC leader.

Mudavadi used the occasion to reassure Kenyans that he was ready to effectively play the role of main opposition leader.

He instead vowed to keep the government in constant check, in order to reduce plundering of money from public coffers.

Mudavadi, Wamalwa and Wetang’ula vowed to continue pushing for unity of Luhya community ahead of 2022 general election politics.

“For a long time, the Maragoli and Bukusu ethinic groupings have been blamed for elusive Luhya unity. But the presence of councils of elders from the two sub tribes here at this meeting is a major political statement,” noted Wamalwa.

Mudavadi disclosed the team would reach out to all governors in the western region before seeking external support.

“We are going to reach out to Kakamega Governor, Wycliffe Oparanya and his Busia counterpart, Sospeter Ojaamong,” said Mudavadi.

By Maurice Aluda

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