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Atwoli tells Wetang’ula not to panic on expected Luhya spokesperson

Veteran trade unionist Francis Atwoli has asked Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula to stop panicking over the expected unveiling of a Luhya spokesperson on Saturday.

The Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) boss who spoke after inspecting Bukhungu stadium, the venue of the event in Kakamega, said his initiative was non-political and meant to serve the interests of the community.

He asked Mr Wetang’ula to be patient and wait for the outcome.

“How does Mr Wetang’ula know that his name could well be in the envelope we shall open on Saturday? Why is he jittery about what we are doing?” asked Mr Atwoli.

The trade unionist said the spokesperson will be named on the basis of a survey he commissioned and which was conducted by a reputable local university.

Mr Atwoli said he had consulted widely on the issue and received support from several politicians including Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Governor Sospeter Ojaamong (Busia) and Senator Amos Wako of Busia County and MPs from western.

He said an envelope containing the name of the spokesperson had been deposited at the Kenya Commercial Bank and would be unsealed on Saturday.

“I have no idea who the spokesperson will be. All I did was to ask a team from one of the public universities to carry out the survey and come up with the name of the most popular leader who will be crowned spokesman for the Luhya community,” said Mr Atwoli.

But Ford Kenya has rejected Mr Atwoli’s push.

Party leader, Senator Wetang’ula, and his deputy Boni Khalwale have challenged Mr Atwoli to tell residents who had given him the mandate to name a spokesperson for the community.

However, Amani National Congress (ANC) Musalia Mudavadi on Tuesday asked members of the Luhya community to attend the Atwoli event and “listen to him.”

Mr Atwoli said he had worked closely with the Western Elders Council which fully supported the initiative.

Mr Burudi Nabwera, a member of the Luhya Elders Forum has dismissed the initiative by Mr Atwoli as serving a personal interest.

He said the Cotu boss should tell residents of the region who had given him the mandate to pick a spokesman for the community.

But Mr Atwoli challenged the former Cabinet Minister to tell the Luhya community what he had done for them when he served in a senior position in government for several years.

Mr Atwoli also told Senator Khalwale to tread carefully on the matter since he needed the goodwill of other leaders in his bid for the Kakamega governorship seat.

“If Mr Wetang’ula knows he is a popular leader, why is he jittery about what we are doing? Those accusing me of pushing a personal agenda should know I’m the right person to bring the Luhya community together,” said Mr Atwoli.

Mr Atwoli who was accompanied by Lugari MP Ayub Savula said the December 31 event will be as a New Year gift to the Luhya people.

The presence of Amani National Congress party officials and its supporters at Bukhungu stadium after the arrival of Mr Atwoli fueled speculation on the possibility of the former deputy prime minister Musalia Mudavadi being named the spokesman.

Mr Kibisu Kabatesi, an aide to Mr Mudavadi said ANC supporters had turned up at the stadium in large numbers in anticipation that the party leader would be crowned the spokesperson for the community.

Mr Kabatesi said there was excitement and hope among ANC supporters on the possibility of Mr Mudavadi being named the community’s spokesman.

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