Written by Wanyonyi Wa Wasike
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Trade Minister Moses Wetang'ula, Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa, Lands Assistant Minister Bifwoli Wakoli and Bududa District Chairman Nambeshe John Baptiste hold hands in a show of unity at Bududa District Headquaters in Eastern Uganda. [Photo | Wanyonyi Wa Wasike]
Bududa, Eastern Uganda: Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa, his Trade counterpart Moses Wetang’ula and Lands Assistant Minister Bifwoli Wakoli took their new unity initiative across the borders to neighboring Uganda where they sought the support of the Bagisu clan in their pledge.
The three leaders who led a Kenyan government delegation in delivering food and non-food donations to victims of the recent landslide that hit Bududa District in Eastern Uganda reiterated that their unity initiative, mooted two weeks ago is still strong.
Speaking at Bududa County headquarters where they handed over the donations that included 100 bags of maize, 250 bags of rice and 300 blankets to Bududa District Chairman Mr. Nambeshe John Baptiste, the trio took the opportunity to ask the local community, majority of who are closely related to the Bukusu clan of the Luhya community to pray for the unity drive.
“We know we are faced with a lot of pressure from political brokers from our respective camps but we stand here to state categorically that our unity initiative still remains strong. I am kindly asking our brothers and sisters here to pray for us to continue along this route,” said Wetang’ula.
The Sirisia Mp added that the pledge, made at the burial of Bukusu spiritual preacher John Manguliechi in Bungoma County wasn’t meant to sideline anyone but was only the first step towards eventually realizing the unity of the entire Luhya community that has been elusive for years.
Wetang’ula announced that together with Wamalwa, Wakoli, fellow cabinet ministers Dr. Noah Wekesa, Fred Gumo, Wycliffe Oparanya and Mps Cyrus Jirongo, Dr Eseli Simiyu, Chris Okemo and Wilbur Otichillo, they are prepared to walk the path of unity and enable the community to speak with one voice ahead of the next general elections.
Wamalwa said that though all those present are presidential candidates, they will work together because issues that unite them outweigh those that initially divided them.
The Saboti Mp said that they will soon announce a series of joint political rallies starting in Bungoma, then Kitale, Kakamega, Busia and finally Vihiga counties before venturing out to other parts of the country to market a single presidential candidate endorsed by the community.
“We regard the Bagisu as our senior brothers and sisters from whom we were merely divided by our countries’ borders and as we engage in the long journey of running for the top seat in Kenya, we know we have the blessings from here as well,” said Wamalwa.
Wakoli announced that talks to pick a single presidential candidate from among them were nearing completion and told Kenyans to prepare for a major announcement soon.
“We are almost there now. I am inviting our Bagisu brothers and sisters to also cross over to Kenya and come and witness as we announce the single presidential candidate from our community which will be very soon,” added Wakoli amid cheers.
Baptiste hailed the new unity initiative adding that the residents of Eastern Uganda are closely monitoring the political situation in Kenya ahead of the next elections.
He said that the Bagisu people had placed their hopes in late politicians Masinde Muliro and Michael Kijana Wamalwa but were disappointed after the duo died while “just on the footsteps” of leadership but added that the new pledge of unity had resuscitated those hopes.
“We want you to remain united regardless of the spanners that will likely be thrown onto your path and we assure you of our unequivocal support in your future undertakings,” said Baptiste.
He conveyed Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s appreciation to President Mwai Kibaki through Kenya’s Ministry of Special Programs for assisting the landslide victims numbering 600 families who he said have been given temporary settlements among their relatives before being relocated to safer areas.
And as the August heavy rains begun in the area, environment analysts in Uganda are fearing for another disaster due to the slow response and outright resistance by people staying at the landslide-prone areas to accept to be relocated to much safer areas.
The Kenyan delegation also included acting Bungoma South District Commissioner Mr. Sylvester Mwangulu and a host of civic leaders among others.
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