Disunity among the Luhya community is to blame for poor development in Western region, Deputy President William Ruto has said.
“I want to assure the people from Western Kenya that the Jubilee government is willing to develop all parts of Kenya including the Western region. But your continued disunity is a setback,” Ruto said during the homecoming of Bumula MP Boniface Otsyula at Mungore Primary school grounds in Bungoma County yesterday.
He said despite the many political party differences, the region can still develop if its leaders speak with one voice. “We want to work with all of you but you should vote for one party instead of voting for different parties and individuals,” Ruto said.
Ruto, who was responding to complaints from Western Kenya leaders that the Jubilee government has failed to appoint leaders and managers from the region to national positions, promised that the government will not sideline the region.
“We have not exhausted positions in the national government. Give us time. We will soon make appointments that will include people from the Western region,” Ruto said in response to calls to include New FordKenya leader Eugene Wamalwa in the government.
Malava MP Injendi Malulu kicked off the debate, blaming the Jubilee Government for failing to appoint people from the Western region to national positions. Interestingly the region voted overwhelmingly for CORD and Amani candidates rather than Jubilee.
“A look at today’s The Standard on Saturday lists a number of parastatal chairmen but there is no one from this region. We want the government to balance positions so that we are also included in government,” Maluku said.
Ruto pleaded for more time saying it is too early to judge the performance of the Jubilee Government.
Wamalwa, the New Ford Kenya leader, asked the Deputy President to ensure major cane factories in Western region all not allowed to collapse. “We want an assurance from your government that our factories including Nzoia and Mumias will notcollapse. Already, Panpaper has collapsed and we don’t want to see another one following suit,” Eugene said.
The DP promised to ensure the ailing sugar factories of Nzoia and Mumias are bailed out.
“Following the privatisation of Nzoia, there are plans to ensure that the county government has a stake in the process. Farmers will also own shares in the factories once they are privatised,” he said.
Otsyula, the host MP, defended TV stations against the rush to switch from analogue to digital, saying the process should not be rushed.
Present were Governors Kenneth Lusaka (Bungoma), Jackson Mandago (Uasin Gishu) and MPs Serut (Mt Elgon), Ayub Savula (Lugari) Ben Washiali (Mumias East), Yusuf Chanzu (Vihiga), Reginalda Wanyonyi (Bungoma Women’s Represenative) and Injendi Malulu (Malava).
Prior to the meeting in Western, Ruto had on Friday assured the family of the deceased veteran politician Simeon Kiptum Choge that he would help them attain an amicable solution to the wrangles surrounding his Pembeni farm in Trans- Nzoia County.
The family of the deceased former Aldai MP had raised concern to area leaders that there was a group of individuals that have severally tried to claim ownership of the over 2,000-acre tract.
Speaking during the memorial service of Choge on Friday evening, the Deputy President told the family not to worry as genuine ownership will be assured.
“I have heard from the family of the late Mzee Choge that this land has a continuing ownership conflict, be secure that we will be of help in such a situation and the rightful owner will have his day,” he said.
The Deputy President described Choge as a strong politician who had played a huge role in national development and grooming of young politicians through advice.
In August 2011, a group of 500 squatters from Sirikwa-Mumbai Cooperative Society invaded his farm claiming that he had grabbed it from them more than 20 years ago during the 1992 ethnic clashes.
Many people from Nandi County, especially the Terik community, had expected Choge to be buried in his Aldai home. He will be instead be buried in his Pembeni farm on Saturday.
Choge who passed in mid-December leaves behind 13 children, 141 grandchildren and six great grandchildren.