Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU-K) Secretary General Francis Atwoli, has hit out on western region leaders telling them to forget about the presidency if they cannot raise at least Sh10 billion for the 2022 campaigns.
According to Atwoli the region has not produced a president since independence because those who have tried have no financial muscle.
In an interview, “I have friends worldwide and when I approached them with the idea, they gave me money wholeheartedly and as we speak, I have set aside Sh500 million for the 2022 campaign. We want to support one candidate for the presidency to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta,” said Atwoli.
He added that: “Musalia Mudavadi, Moses Wetang’ula and Wycliffe Oparanya have all declared their interest for the top seat. We will decide who among the three and any other person who will show interest in the seat, to support. But first we must raise Sh10 billion for the campaign.”
He said that the candidate who will be given the blessings of the Mulembe nation to go for the top seat will be selected in 2021 during a ‘Bukhungu Declaration’.
“All candidates from Western Kenya eyeing the presidency will undergo vigorous vetting, we will conduct an opinion poll to get the most popular candidate and even subject them to a nomination exercise. We’re determined to get to State House in 2022 by all means,” Atwoli declared.
In the last opinion poll commissioned by Atwoli early in 2017, ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi was declared the Luhya spokesperson. He led the pack with 39 per cent, followed by Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula, both of whom polled 30 per cent.
The trade unionist dismissed claims that the Mulembe nation was divided, saying the region was intact and that what has been lacking was someone to show them direction. He urged all the three candidates who have declared interest in the presidency to shelve their ambitions and support one person to vie for the top job.
The Cotu boss further said that President Uhuru Kenyatta will play a pivotal role in the outcome of the 2022 presidential polls and that the Luhya community should, therefore, cultivate his support.
“Raila Odinga will also have a say in determining who will be the next president and we cannot write him off,” Atwoli added.
He hinted at the possibility of a referendum in 2022 to change the Constitution and ensure all regions are well represented in the next government.
According to Atwoli, this will go a long way in ensuring that the animosity normally witnessed after every electioneering period comes to an end.