Leaders from across the political divide in western region have expressed fear that the coming Kabuchai parliamentary by-election will be chaotic following recent ugly scenarios that saw Ford-K supporters clash during a church service.
Even before the area MP James Lusweti’s burial last Saturday, tension was already high with aspirants for the seat throwing spanners in the works. Kwanza MP Ferdinand Wanyonyi who is also the chairman parliamentary committee that was in charge of the burial preparations, warned politicians against causing chaos saying Lusweti was a peaceful MP.
Sirisia MP John Waluke who is also in the committee has already announced himself as the acting Kabuchai MP owing to his proximity with the constituency. As an acting MP, he said he did not need drama and chaos as what is in anticipation. Recently, a church service at a local church in Bungoma county culminated into running battles when Ford-K supporters clashed leaving worshipers scamper for their dear life. The party has been enjoying a near fanatical support in county.
Political leaders from across the Mulumbe nation had converged at the Christ the King Catholic Church in Bungoma when Ford-K rivalry dominated the service and the ensuing chaos. The funds drive at the church was graced by among others senate speaker Ken Lusaka, area governor Wycliffe Wangamati, and Senator Moses Wetangula, Vihiga senator George Khaniri and his Kakamega counterpart senator Cleophas Malala among several MPs and MCAs from the region.
Senator Malala opened the pandora’s boss by accusing Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi and Governor Wangamati of being the greatest impediment to the Luhya unity, a comment that did not go well with the two leaders. In the hard hitting statement, Senator Malala asked the two to stop disturbing Wetangula over the Ford-Kenya leadership adding that the only leaders who should decide the way among Luhyas are Wetangula and ANC leader Musalia Musalia.
The senator was alluding to the fact that early this year, chaos were also witnessed at a Ford-Kenya meeting after members clashed over reports that a section of the leaders had ousted Senator Wetangula as the party leader. Trouble started when some party officials announced that Wamunyinyi was the new party leader. Some of the members present at the meeting at a Nairobi hotel said the changes had not been ratified and accused leaders from Bungoma of orchestrating the move in a bid to take over the party illegally.
A statement circulated later stated that Wetangula had been ousted for “gross misconduct, moral impropriety and violation of the party constitution”. The matter is still unresolved and is said to be recipe for the trouble in Kabuchai. Senator Wetangula and Wamunyinyi will have parallel nominees for the parliamentary by-election in the brewing showdown. In the recent drama, Wamunyinyi who appeared to be irritated by Malala, stood before the church and attempted to engage with the senator before being stopped by Father Wanyonyi ending the mass immediately.
That is when the Governor Wangamati and Wamunyinyi rushed to the church gate and blocked it saying that they would not allow Malala out because he had attacked them. As the youths accompanied Wangamati and Wamunyinyi started throwing stones towards the church, the police swiftly swang into action and restored peace. This was not the first incident. Mid this year, the burial of a Kabuchai parliamentary loser in the 2017 general elections Tale Nabangi was marred by chaos when police clashed with boda boda operators.
Several people were injured during the running battles where a policewoman was injured. The fear of chaos in the Kabuchai by-election also came to the fore when Bungoma mayor was fatally wounded by a hit-and-run motorist on the busy Webuye-Malaba highway last week. Thaddeus Simiyu Matibila, a senior Ford-Kenya official, was knocked at Ndengelwa trading centre in Kanduyi Constituency under unclear circumstances. Good Samaritans took the former councillor to Bungoma West Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Matibila was a close ally of Senator Wetang’ula.