Leaders from the Western region have laid some demands on the table ahead of President Uhuru’s development tour to the region for the first time since he was re-elected in 2017.
Last week, the president met the region’s five governors, Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), Wilber Ottichilo (Vihiga), Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma), Sospeter Ojaamong (Busia), and Patrick Khaemba (Trans Nzoia), and Cabinet Secretaries Eugene Wamalwa (Devolution) at State House where the leaders presented their wish list.
During the three-day Uhuru’s development tour, the Head of State is expected to inspect and launch major projects.
Top on the list is the revival of debt-stricken Mumias Sugar Company.
Navakholo MP Emmanuel Wangwe said resuscitating the sugar company will create more than 3000 permanent job opportunities as well as employing more than 30,000 casual laborers.
“We want the government to address the revival of the miller so that people can have their jobs back and farmers can improve their livelihoods,” he said.
The president is also expected to commission the construction of Matulo Airstrip in Webuye, Chwele Open Air Market, Kanduyi Stadium and Nzoia Sugar Factory.
He will also award a charter to Kaimosi University College after inspecting the Vihiga Water Cluster project.
There is also the planned construction of the KSh 100 million Kakamega Gold Refinery in Ikolomani Constituency, and the Sh6 billion upgrade of the Kakamega Teaching and Referral Hospital.
The leaders led by Kakamega Governor further want key roads within the region tarmacked.
This includes the 31-kilometer Lurambi-Navakholo-Musikoma road which President Uhuru Kenyatta commissioned prior to the 2017 General Election.
“There is granite processing plant in Vihiga, expansion of Bungoma and Busia airports and completion of stalled road projects,” the Governor said.
The president has in the recent past toured Nyanza, Lower Eastern, and Coast regions and his Western trip has, however, triggered unrest within a section of political leaders who feel sidelined.
“We have not received any information about the president’s itinerary ahead of his visit. However, we recently saw him meet a few governors from the region.
“So all we are saying is that if the president wants to visit the governors, he can go ahead and do so, but we will not intrude on meetings to which we have not been invited,” said Budalangi MP Raphael Wanjala.
This comes at a time when allies of ODM leader Raila Odinga and those of ANC’s Musalia Mudavadi have been divided ahead of President Uhuru’s Western Kenya tour.
While Musalia Mudavadi supporters are pushing for ANC leader to accompany the Head of State, Raila Odinga allies on the other side are insisting that their party leader must accompany the president to revive his political fortunes in the Mulembe nation.
Lugari MP Ayub Savula, a close ally of Musalia Mudavadi on Sunday, July 25, threatened to convince western politicians not to be part of Uhuru’s visit if the former vice president would not accompany the president.
“They are trying to sideline Musalia (Mudavadi) to deny him support in his home turf. We will not accept that,” Savula said.