Kituyi’s entry into presidential contest stirs up Western region

Tuesday, February 9th, 2021 00:00 | By
Mukhisa Kituyi. Photo/File

Dennis Lumiti      

The declaration by former Trade Minister Dr Mukhisa Kituyi that he will vie for the presidency in 2022 has stirred the hornet’s nest in the Luhya Nation.

A cross-section of leaders from the Western region have since expressed mixed views over the outgoing United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) boss declaration.

While some leaders read mischief, others supported his bid, saying it was his democratic right.

Political leaders allied to the region’s foremost politician, former Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi, who has declared interest in the top seat, said they read malice and a wider scheme by some forces out to undermine the Amani National Congress (ANC) party leader through Kituyi. 

“These are some of the schemes hatched by people from outside the Luhya nation to undermine the community’s unity and its leaders; Mudavadi and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula,” said Lurambi MP Bishop Titus Khamala.

Bishop Khamala said although he was not questioning Kituyi’s presidential credentials, he should have shelved his ambitions and rally behind Mudavadi.

“You can have more than one bull in your homestead but one must always stand out at any given time.

At this moment we have Musalia and all other leaders from this community should support and give him this golden opportunity to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta,” he said.

His sentiments were echoed by Lugari MP Ayub Savula and his Butere counterpart Tindi Mwale, who said they were convinced that Kituyi was being used to frustrate Mudavadi’s bid and divide the Luhya vote.

Savula said Kituyi and his “shadowy backers” were out to renew the long-running rivalries between the Bukusu and Maragoli sub-tribes to the advantage of outsiders.

“The two sub-tribes, which have competed in the past, are now united, courtesy of Mudavadi and Wetangula. Some people are not happy and, thus, want to use Kituyi to stoke these rivalries,” he said. 

Ikolomani MP Benard Shinali said it is high time Luhya leaders stop their “petty rivalries” and forge a unity of purpose that would enable the community produce a president. 

“Maybe he (Kituyi) is just seeking to return to the country’s political fray with hope that he will benefit from the next government.

But he does not have the clout and capacity to vie for presidency next year,” he added.

Faces hurdles

Kituyi faces hurdles in even his own Bungoma backyard, with some local leaders saying it would even be hard for him to reclaim the Kimilili parliamentary seat now occupied by Didmus Barasa.

Former Webuye MP Musikari Kombo said the Luhya community had settled on Mudavadi as their sole presidential flag-bearer come 2022 and that any efforts to frustrate him will be resisted.

However, Kituyi’s supporters, led by Antony Magwaga, who is eyeing the Ikolomani parliamentary seat, said Kituyi is his own man.

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