Lusaka defends decision to join Ford-K, says he didn’t abandon Uhuru
Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka says his decision to join Ford Kenya, on whose banner he seeks to reclaim the Bungoma governor seat he lost five years ago, was arrived at after wide consultations and was not meant to spite President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“As they say, politics is local. In Bungoma, Ford Kenya is the party that rules the roost. It is difficult to get elected to any seat in Bungoma if you are not in Ford Kenya. That is the reality on the ground,” he told People Daily in an interview.
Lusaka, who served as Bungoma’s first governor between 2013 and 2017, said he has a lot of respect for Uhuru who he credits for his being picked Speaker after he lost to Wycliffe Wangamati.
He said he considers Uhuru and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who is the Azimio-One Kenya presidential candidate in the August 9 election, as valued friends who helped him achieve a lot at the Senate.
New Ford Kenya
“It is a fallacy for anyone to claim I have disrespected Uhuru by joining Ford Kenya. It should be remembered that in 2017, I was the first leader of a political party to wind up our house to join the Jubilee Party. At the time, I was the leader of New Ford Kenya which we folded to form one powerful entity that propelled Uhuru back to power, though I lost my seat. I am proud of the support I have given the President and appreciate the support he has given me over the years,” he said.
Lusaka (pictured) is running against Wangamati of the Democratic Alliance Party-Kenya, an affiliate of Azimio-One Kenya.
He and his National Assembly counterpart Justin Muturi have been criticised by some Jubilee adherents for backing Deputy President William Ruto’s presidential candidature.
However, the former governor argues that he had given Uhuru all the support he required and he finds nothing wrong in charting his own path as the President prepares to exit the State House.
“In all fairness, President Uhuru Kenyatta is not running for any seat in this year’s election. I have accorded him all the support he needed when in office. While Uhuru is retiring, I still have a life in politics and therefore I have to create my own space and ways of survival. I cannot join Uhuru in retirement,” stated Lusaka.
He defends his record as Speaker, saying he ensured that the business of the House went on successfully despite intermittent attempts to derail its working and performance.
“I went to the Senate with an open mind. I made governors understand that the Senate is their protector, not their adversary. Through numerous discussions, Senators and governors came to understand each other’s roles and the importance of co-operation,” he said.
The outgoing Speaker says devolution is working.
“Decisions are now being made closer to the people. The electorate is now more informed about their rights and the need for them to take part in decision-making organs. Citizens participation is now a must and not an option. No county can be said to be where it was in 2013,” he said.