Key Luhya leaders will skip the 13th memorial service of the late Vice-President Michael Wamalwa Kijana on Tuesday in Kitale.
Deputy President William Ruto, who was also expected at the event, which will be attended by both Jubilee and Cord leaders, is still in the Coast region and will not turn up.
On Monday, organisers of the event who were putting final touches to the plans at the late VP’s home in Milimani ,said they sent out an open invitation to Luhya leaders among them Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi and his Ford-Kenya counterpart Moses Wetang’ula.
Mr Mudavadi, however, said he would not attend the memorial because of commitments in Nairobi, while Mr Wetang’ula will be attending a Cord summit of lawmakers and governors which will be held on Tuesday at Ufungamanao House in Nairobi.
“The late Wamalwa was a good friend and a great Luhya leader, unfortunately I will be held up with commitments in Nairobi which cannot be postponed,” the ANC leader said.
It was understood, however, that the two leaders did not want to be part of a service which will be dominated by Jubilee lawmakers who have been invited by Water Services Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa to the event.
CALL FOR UNITY
Mr Wamalwa said they will use the service, which they have invited MPs from different regions and some governors, to call for national unity ahead of the next elections. He was probably referring to a section of MPs from Central Kenya who have been pushing him to become the Jubilee Party’s candidate for the Nairobi governorship.
“The theme remains that of national unity, of putting the country before self because Mike was a nationalist. We will speak about how we can harness our diversity to make Kenya a unified country,” he said.
Leaders from the counties in the former Western province and the North Rift region are to attend the occasion that is also expected to play host to the 2017 general elections politics in the Luhya region.
“Governor Lusaka is expected to lead a group of leaders from western region. We are not aware of other key Luhya leaders who will be around but this is an open occasion that will be preceded by a church service,” Mr Dan Wafula, a member of the organising committee, said.
Political leaders from the community are approaching the elections with sharp divisions on which political direction to take, despite unity bells being sounded loudly in recent memorial services of the fallen political doyen.
Water Services Cabinet secretary Eugene Wamalwa, a brother to the late VP, maintains that the community will be better off joining Jubilee.
“Our call to the community to support president Uhuru’s re-election bid is not an anti-Luhya unity strategy because we know we can’t secure power as a community alone,” said Mr Wamalwa. He said the community should be be a stakeholder in the next government.
Ford Kenya leader Wetang’ula cites betrayal as the biggest roadblock to Luhya unity saying some leaders have failed to emulate the late vice president’s unselfish legacy.