By Wilson Abiri
The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) meeting slated for January 18, at Bukhungu stadium in Kakamega County has sharply divided ward reps from Western region.
Ward reps drawn from the Raila Odinga led ODM party are in support of the meeting whereas those from Jubilee, Ford Kenya and Amani National Congress (ANC) as well as other affiliate parties have vowed to give the fete a wide berth.
Joel Ongoro, the Majority Leader at the Kakamega County Assembly led his fellow ODM colleagues in drumming up support for the meeting.
“The purpose of the meeting is for the general public to air out their democratic views on the BBI report and we won’t succumb to intimidation from a few disgruntled politicians,’ said Mr Ongoro.
Ongoro said as an assembly they are in full support of Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Cotu boss Francis Atwoli for organising the meeting, the duo doesn’t need authority from anybody to call for a meeting of regional leaders.
“The BBI is a national agenda that affects the entire nation and it cannot be trivialized to a community issue. We encourage the locals from all walks of life to come to Bukhungu and listen to their leaders,” said Ongoro.
However, a section of Jubilee MCAs from the region dismissed Mr Ongoro assertions and termed him as an opportunist who doesn’t have the interests of the community at heart including the ODM brigade.
They are Atwoli is a ‘political conman’ who is using the luhya community as a bait to advance his own egoistic selfish interests.
Francis Chemion, Kaptama ward MCA and Minority leader at the Bungoma county Assembly, said they won’t attend the Bukhungu meeting since it will be an ODM affair.
Mr Chemion said they will Marshall their colleagues to attend the meeting that will be held in Mumias town on the same day.
“‘We as MCAs are not opposed to the BBI and in fact we are fully supporting it. Before calling for that meeting, we expected copies of the BBI to be distributed out so that we can read and enable us give informed views on that day,” said Mr Chemion.
He said the meeting was a purely an ODM affair to install Oparanya as the region’s spokesman and that there was no need attending it.
“Atwoli wants to use the meeting that will be attended by Raila to solidify his support in the region after parting ways with Mudavadi and Wetang’ula. Atwoli wants to endorse Governor Oparanya as Luhya kingpin and we won’t allow that,” said Chemion.
He asked Atwoli to style up and stop dividing Mulembe community for his own selfish interests.
Lwandanyi ward MCA Tony Barasa warned governors Atwoli has no moral authority to call for a meeting to discuss the BBI report as a community and invite strangers (Raila) to the same event.
Mr Barasa who is also Lwandanyi MCA said that most Kenyans are literate and do not want leaders to call them to Bukhungu and tell them about BBI.
Barasa cautioned governors against sponsoring the meeting and instead use the money to steer development in their respective counties.
Butali/Chegulo MCA Kevin Mahelo threatened to organise fellow MCAs from the five counties to impeach area governors if they will use county resources to ferry people to the Bukhungu meeting.
The governors are Oparanya (Kakamega), Wilbur Ottichilo (Vihiga), Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma), Sospeter Ojaamong’ (Busia) and Trans Nzoia’s Patrick Khaemba.
Mahelo said they had information that each governor is to ferry at least 2000 people from their respective counties to attend the meeting and be paid Sh500 later, saying ward reps didn’t pass any budget to ferry people to Bukhungu.