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How Luhya Politicians Have Always Betrayed the Luhya People and their Aspirations

By Kisiang’ani Khwa Nakumincha
The hullabaloo about Namwamba and others just got me thinking. So many have called Raila names including “a betrayer of the Luhya people” etc. While we blame other tribes for our woes ( non delivery of services to our people and our misfortunes), we myopically and ignorantly forget to look at our own selves. Our own history is full of betrayals.
In 1969, Masinde Muliro campaigned for Elijah Wasike Mwangale for the Elgon East seat later renamed Bungoma East, against the incumbent Mark Barasa to ensure his Maiden stint in parliament and he made it. We forget that after the 1979 elections and the subsequent appointments of Mwangale and Moses Mudavadi into Cabinet, the two declared war on Muliro under the directive of Moi.
In the snap election of 1983 after the attempted coup in 1982, Gumo rigged out Muliro in the elections which later the court nullified. In the subsequent by-election in 1984, Gumo and other aspirants stepped down and rallied behind Daniel Biwott arap Yego, a Kalenjin. Muliro won anyway.
At the same time, Fred Gumo knowing that Wamalwa Kijana, who had then won the Kitale west seat by the support of Muliro, had been a witness in the nullified election, fabricated evidence against Wamalwa in the njonjo commission investigating his (Njonjos) illegal attempted power takeover. However, the evidence was thrown out on cross examination.
In 1985, when the Kakamega Branch decided to expel Martin shikuku from KANU, its Muliro who ran to his defense. This earned Muliro attacks instigated by the then KANU secretary general Burudi Nabwera and a moi confidant Moses Mudavadi. Kibiwott arap Koross, Muliro’s vice chairman in Trans Nzoia, called for muliros expulsion from the party. It took the intervention of the KANU executive council to pardon Muliro.
When Muliro won the newly created Cherangany Constituency parliamentary seat in 1988, Dr Noah Wekesa, then the Kanu Branch treasurer led an onslaught against him and Wamalwa.
Muliro lost the seat through a petition and in the subsequent by-election of 1990, they (Noah Wekesa+others) rallied behind Kipruto arap Kirwa who eventually won the seat.
Shikuku after muliro putting his life on the line for him ended up eating ugali in state house and betraying luhya/opposition unity.
1999….George Kapten dies suspiciously. “Leave moi out of kaptens death” said William Ruto…….Was George kapten betrayed by someone?? Who was it? Could it have been the same people that betrayed Muliro???
Do we remember when Moi deceived Mudavadi to remain in KANU and become Vice president to break the Rainbow movement??And eventually forced him to be Uhurus running mate instead of vice versa in 2002!!!! And we forget its because of Ruto that Uhuru called Musalia a demon and reneged on a Musalia presidency in 2013. This split the luhya vote giving Uhuruto a disputed win.
On the flip side, when Luhyas (Muliro) united with Luos (Jaramogi), 1991, we got multiparty democracy back. When Raila moved from Ford Kenya, Wamalwa Kijana became the undisputed Chairman of the party and went on to become VP after ‘Kibaki Tosha’ declaration by Raila in 2002. Do we even forget how Raila and Ngilu campaigned for the win to come.
In 2007, Raila, against all odds and at the expense of loosing the Rift Valley support, chose Mudavadi as his running mate. The same Raila chose Mudavadi as Deputy Prime minister in the Nusu mkate Government. This led to the Raila-Ruto fall out.
Ababu Namwamba picked as Minister for Sports and youth affairs, PAC chair (ODM rallied to counter vote of no confidence), ODM Secretary General……….besides running to Baba for protection against
Among the controversial assignments that had been handled by Namwamba’s committee included the probe on the Sh25 million hiring of a luxury jet for Deputy President William Ruto and his entourage of 15 on a tour of four African countries. The parliamentary watchdog was rocked by claims that some of its members had been taking bribes to change some of its investigative reports. To date everything was swept under the carpet.
Those who voted to have Ababu out were  Gonzi Rai (TNA), Joel Onyancha (TNA), Jude Njomo (TNA), Kareke Mbiuki (TNA), Jackson Rop (URP), Julius Melly (URP), James Bett (URP), Arthur Odera(URP), Mathias Robi (URP) Fathia Mahbub (URP), Stephen Manoti (Ford People), Joseph Manje (TNA) and Edick Anyanga (ODM).
Suna East MP Junnet Mohammed led others in saving Ababu but they were outnumbered. Luckily, the victors could not muster the requisite numbers to oust the Budalangi MP, which made him retain his seat.
Those who voted to save Namwamba included ODM Chairman John Mbadi, MPs Alice Nyanchoka(ODM), Manson Nyamweya(ODM), Charles Geni(ODM), Silvance Osele (ODM), Jessica Mbalu (Wiper), Sakwa Bunyasi (UDF) and Katatha Maweu (Independent). Finally though, the parliaentary committee on selection threw him out.
I have not even touched the Chesoni/Wako issues, Kituyi/Kombo, Wetangula/Mudavadi etc etc. If we treasure the Muliro who charismatically invited the Bukusu and other Luhyas to buy land and settle in Trans Nzoia, who fought for the underprivileged in society, who fought for free speech and freedom of expression, who fought tribalism etc etc, we need to soberly look at who has done us more damage.
Jomo Kenyatta used Luhyas to fight Luhyas. Moi did the same. Kibaki did the same. I find it not strange that Uhuruto(a combination of Jomo and Moi) are doing the same. The only good thing is that those used ended up miserable fellows politically. Mwangale, Shamallah, Kituyi (saved by a UN appointment), Kombo, etc etc.
In my personal judgement, under the leadership of the Kikuyu and Kalenjin governments, we have done ourselves more harm than good. BUT the Kalenjin followed by the Kikuyu, have done more harm to the Bukusu and luhya nation than the Luo. Mgala muue lakini haki yake umpe. I welcome any better prove that states otherwise.
The question I keep asking myself is, when Namwamba chest thumps and says “the Luhyas”, which Luhyas is he speaking on their behalf??? And who has send him to speak on behalf of the Luhyas??? Abamulembo clan should tell Namwamba, their son, that he still has a long way to go to become the Luhya spokesperson. Let him tackle Busia first. Namwamba, we know where you are headed despite all the denials. Nowadays you deny everything. Be a man and speak out. Its your democratic right. We are waiting. I rest my case.

Written by Robert

Respected Kenyan blogger, tech evangelist, and social justice activist. Robert is known for his hard-hitting articles and opinions disseminated through his Twitter handle @RobertAlai or Facebook page (

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