Tension high as two meetings cancelled in Kakamega
By Hillary Mageka and Enock Amukhale @peopledailyke
Political tension is building up in Kakamega County after police cancelled permits for two meetings that were scheduled to be held concurrently with the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) consultative forum slated for on Saturday at Bukhungu Stadium.
ANC Party leader Musalia Mudavadi and his Ford-Kenya counterpart Moses Wetangula were scheduled to address a political rally at Nabongo Sports Ground in Mumias while the other had been organized by local farmers at the Mumias Sports Complex, both of which has been annulled for security reasons.
This as Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala threatened yesterday to “take action” on those leaders planning a parallel rally to counter the planned Bukhungu meeting.
“I will not allow a few political brokers to hold any parallel meeting in his Kakamega County when Luhyas converge at Bukhungu to decide their fate on Building Bridges Initiative report tomorrow,” Senator Malala said after touring the venue of the BBI meeting.
His sentiments were shared by Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary General Francis Atwoli who dismissed the parallel meeting organized by their rival group saying the Bukhungu the meeting is a national event to rally the Luhya nation behind the BBI process and ensure that its interests are well safe guarded.
“The Luhya nation must be there in the BBI process. If there will be positions, we will be there and our interests must be protected. Millions of Luhyas will be attending the meeting either physically or following it on live TV," said Atwoli who insisted that there would be no meeting in Mumias town.
“We have been following all those people organizing the Mumias meeting. We have their names and I can assure you, none of them will leave their homes,” he added.
According to him, the Luhya people will not allow a few people to spoil such a historic meeting.
“Their wives will be the first ones to arrest them and place them on house arrest. Those without wives will have a rough day," the COTU boss stated.
On his part, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya has appealed to residents of the six counties; Kakamega, Busia, Vihiga, Bungoma and Trans Nzoia to turn-out in large numbers to attend Bukhungu meeting where he said ODM party leader Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta will attend.Oparanya said the residents will have opportunity to know what is in the BBI report and make informed decision.
“I’m calling upon all Western residents to turn-out in large numbers and attend Bukhungu rally, they will learn more about BBI which help make appropriate decisions,” he urged.
But in a quick rejoinder, politicians led by Mumias East MP Ben Washiali, former Kakamega senator Bonny Khalwale and former Sport CS Rashid Echesa have maintained that their planned rally in Mumias is still on.
“Police attempts to cancel our Western leaders' meeting in Mumias is diversionary n tantamount to incitement. They have NO powers to give or cancel a permit as they cannot take away the constitutional rights of Freedom of Assembly, Association & Speech, 18/01/20 is on,” Khalwale said in a tweet on Thursday.
Sources have told People Daily, that ANC party leader Mudavadi with his Bungoma counterpart Wetang'ula fear that Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya may use the Building Bridges Initiative(BBI) campaigns to gain political mileage.
Mudavadi and Wetang’ula allies fear that Oparanya with the support of other political forces which are behind him have plans of using BBI rallies to dislodge Mudavadi and Wetangula from Luhya politics.
“The move by well-known forces of giving Oparanya mandate of leading BBI campaigns in Western region instead of giving it to Mudavadi who is Luhya political king pin is suspect,” the source observed.