Chaos, teargas as Raila skips Wetang’ula launch
Several times, youths attempted to disrupt Mr Wetan’gula’s rally, each time chanting slogans in support of Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya.
Shortly after the Bungoma Senator was crowned a Luhya elder, a young man threw a canister at the dais forcing politicians to scamper for safety.
However, the huge crowd of Ford Kenya supporters remained undeterred and urged the leaders to reassemble and go on with the launch which was used to rally for Luhya unity.
Unbowed, Mr Wetang’ula accused some unnamed forces of a scheme to disrupt the event with the help of the police.
The Kakamega County Commissioner Keng’ethe Thuku and the Western region police chief Moses Ombati said two suspects had been arrested in connection with lobbying of the teargas canisters at the Ford Kenya leader.
“We have two suspects who are admitted at the county hospital in critical condition. We have established who was behind the attack and firm action will be taken against those involved,” said Mr Thuku.
Cord leader Raila Odinga skipped the event attended by the former vice president Kalonzo Musyoka and dozens of opposition politicians.
Mr Musyoka said Mr Odinga had flown to Tanzania, even though none of ODM’s senior politicians attended the Ford Kenya leader’s presidential bid launch.
Speaking at the rally, the Ford Kenya leader pledged to support a Cord candidate in the next election and asked members of the Luhya community to rally behind him.
“There is nothing more dangerous than standing in the way of an idea whose time has come. Wetang’ula’s is an idea whose time has come,” said the Senate Minority Leader who committed to throw his weight behind whoever would be picked to carry the Cord flag.
Mr Wetang’ula will fight it out with Mr Odinga and Mr Musyoka for the coalition’s ticket.
He pledged to protect the Constitution, form an inclusive government, ensure national unity, expand infrastructure, health and create jobs for the youth.
The senator accused the Jubilee coalition of presiding over corruption and isolating other sections of the country from government.
“The cancer of tribalism and corruption have worsened the Kenyan situation. We must unite to remove it from power in the next election,” he said.
Mr Musyoka used the event to declare that the Cord coalition will remain united, warning that the Jubilee coalition will “go home in the morning” if Mr Odinga and Mr Wetang’ula back him.
“A break up for Cord will be the biggest betrayal to the reform movement. There is no going back. People have been taken for granted for far too long,” said Mr Musyoka who also demanded the disbandment of the electoral commission.
According to Mr Musyoka, the Cord coalition will not go to the next election if the elections team is still headed by Mr Issack Hassan.
Some of the politicians who attended the presidential launch included governors Dr Evans Kidero (Nairobi) and Patrick Khaemba (Trans-Nzoia), and senators Hassan Omar (Mombasa), Moses Kajwang (Homa Bay), Henry Ole Ndiema (Trans-Nzoia), John Munyes (Turkana), Catherine Mukite (nominated) and Ben Njoroge (nominated).
Others were MPs Chris Wamalwa (Kiminini), Suleiman Murunga (Kimilili), Dr Eseli Simiyu (Tongaren), Ferdinand Wanyonyi (Kwanza), Raphael Otaalo (Lurambi), Anami Lisamula (Shinyalu), Dorcas Kegodo (Vihiga County), Awiti Abolo (Nyali), Wiber Otichillo (Emuhaya), Jared Opiyo (Awendo), and a host of MCAs.
Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar made a passionate appeal for Luhya unity saying that a Western Kenya bloc vote was sufficient to counter the Mt Kenya vote.
Leaders at the rally asked Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi and Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa to stop working with the Jubilee coalition.
“I am asking Mr Mudavadi to return to the Cord coalition or start writing his political obituary,” said Mr Hassan.
Politicians at the function severally accused the Jubilee government of abetting corruption, disregarding the Constitution and promoting tribalism and politics of exclusion.
“For us to be able to renew the national covenant, we must vote out Jubilee government. Just like our fore fathers fought for liberation of our country from colonialism, we must also liberate this country from poor leadership,” Mr Omar said.
Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi accused police officers of disrupting the meeting and asked the Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet to investigate the incident saying it was aimed at inciting Kenyans to violence.
Nominated Senator Janet Ongera challenged all Cord principals to support whoever will be elected by coalition delegates to be the flag bearer saying that was the only way to maintain the unity.
Former Cabinet minister Burudi Nabwera who spoke on behalf of the Luhya Elders Council asked the Cord co-principals to unite and settle on a single flag bearer to face President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2017.