Elder: Mudavadi did not plan eviction of Wamalwa from Maragoli festival

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Vihiga residents scamper for safety when Water CS Eugene Wamalwa’s security shot in the air. PHOTO/STANDARD MEDIA

By AMUGUNE ABSOLOM

newsdesk@reporter.co.ke

Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi was not behind the attack against Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa during the Maragoli cultural festival in Mbale on Tuesday the chairman of Vihiga County Council of Elders has said.

Mr Elam Lumwaji said the allegations that Mudavadi masterminded the attack against Mr Wamalwa by irate residents during of the Maragoli cultural festival are ferocious and baseless.

“We did not invite Wamalwa to this event and he did not tell us that he was coming. So the reaction of the irate mob that evicted him from the event was spontaneous,” he said.

Mr Lumwaji who is also the Western Kenya Region Elders Council member said Mr Mudavadi, the National Super Alliance  (Nasa) co-principal was a polished and gentle leader who did not engage in political sideshows.

He said Mr Wamalwa’s link to the Jubilee government could have infuriated the mob that bayed for his blood, as Nasa supporters believe President Uhuru Kenyatta won unfairly against Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga and are demanding for justice and electoral reforms.

Vihiga residents scamper for safety when Water CS Eugene Wamalwa’s security shot in the air. PHOTO/STANDARD MEDIA

On Tuesday Mr Wamalwa was forced to leave the venue of the Maragoli cultural festival at Municipal Grounds in Mbale after an irate public started pelting him with stones and chanting he was not welcome.

“Aende (let him go),” the crowd shouted as some pelted him with stones. Mr Mudavadi and Mr Atwoli were forced to escort the minister out of the venue as police shot leading to a stampede. Things settled after the CS left.

At the festival on Tuesday, Mr Mudavadi and Cotu secretary-general Francis Atwoli, who was the chief guest, tried to calm the crowd as residents heckled Mr Wamalwa and chanted anti-Jubilee slogans.

Their efforts were futile as the chanting only grew louder.

Mr Mudavadi and Mr Atwoli escorted the minister out of the venue as police shot in the air, leading to a stampede.

However, Jubilee leaders from western Kenya have accused Mudavadi of failing to control his supporters who heckled Wamalwa.

Mr Wamalwa, whose car was pelted with stones on Tuesday, blamed Mr Mudavadi for his woes in Mbale.

“He failed to control the crowd during that national event and let them heckle on-Nasa leaders. It seems everything was pre-arranged to embarrass Jubilee leaders,” said Mr Wamalwa.

At the same time, MPs and other leaders from western Kenya have called for unity and support for Mr Mudavadi for his 2022 presidential bid.

Already MPs from Kakamega started campaigning for Mr Mudavadi’s 2022 presidential bid, barely two months after the presidential elections.

MPs Ayub Savula (Lugari), Tindi Mwale (Butere), Justus Murunga (Matungu), Titus Khamala (Lurambi) and Christopher Aseka (Khwisero) urged residents of western region to support Mr Mudavadi to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta as the country’s fifth president.

Mr Savula asked the Luhya community to rally behind Mr Mudavadi to strengthen his influence in readiness for 2022 presidential race.

“The community is capable of producing a president if they take the move seriously,” Mr Savula said.

He said being the Luhya spokesman, Mr Mudavadi needs support from the community to give him leverage in 2022 negotiations.

The Lugari MP appealed to Mr Odinga to support Mr Mudavadi to succeed him as Nasa presidential flag bearer.

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