The MP’s family is widely known to be from the populous Baguri clan of the Bakhayo sub-tribe of the Luhyia community, the truth is that he is from the Bagara clan of the Teso community and this is where the crunch comes in for him- Busia political operative Peter Odima
The ambitious venture by Nambale MP John Sakwa Bunyasi to run for Busia county governorship in the August 2022 general elections is already facing stormy headwinds from a section of residents. According to Luhyia eleders, there exist several factors triggering the political storm against the MP, factors which may eventually consign his political career into political oblivion, for good.
The elders claim that the legislator’s family background and his engagement with Amani National Congress (ANC) party and leader Musalia Mudavadi are the main talking points.
One of the elders and the county’s political operative also campaigner, Peter Odima said: “First and foremost Hon. Bunyasi is a technocrat through and through and not a politician, he cannot effectively execute the complex intricacies involved in governing our county.” Mr Odima said that there is also the unbreakable pact signed between the Teso and Luhyia Communities that saw outgoing governor Sospeter Ojaamong win the seat two times in a row without a serious opponent from the Luhyia Community. (Apart from Hon. Otwoma who contested as an Independent)
“What is clear is that this time around the County’s governorship is supposed to go to a Muluhyia proper and the Deputy to the Teso as well as Senatorial and Women Rep. That is despite the Teso Community being perceived as having a huge voting block than that of their Luhyia counterparts,”- Mzee Linus Echakara from Teso North
He said the pact saw Hon Amos Wako vie for the Senate seat, Women Rep Florence Mutua also vie for and won that seat and Ojaamong’s two Deputy Governors Kizito Wangalwa and Moses Mulommi also won the DG seat and apart from Mr Kizito Wangalwa, all the rest romped in office for two consecutive terms. The operative said that Hon. Bunyasi’s challenge comes right from his home in the Madende area where the tribe and clan factors may be the ‘epicentres’ for his political Tsunami because after a Teso having served for two terms it will be a tall order to replace Ojaamong with another Mteso from which Bunyasi has his deep paternal ancestry.
“Though the MP’s family is widely known to be from the populous Baguri clan of the Bakhayo sub-tribe of the Luhyia community, the truth is that he is a Mteso from the Bagara clan of the Teso community and this is where the crunch comes in for him,” he said. We cannot have a situation where a Teso is taking over from a fellow Teso in Busia, Hon. Bunyasi is a member of the Teso community. The Weekly Vision Investigative team on the ground found that according to locals the legislator’s grandfather was adopted and completely assimilated by the Baguri chief’s family of the old days after migrating from the Teso Bagara clan to look for work within the Bakhayo.
That saw the mzee (grandfather) bestowed with his first wife by the chief, a Muguri mentor which resulted in the offsprings that grew up in the embrace of the Baguri’s that are part of Hon. Bunyasi’s family are widely known to be Baguri’s on the surface, but actually, they are deeply rooted Bagaras of the Teso community.
There was in recent years critical matters concerning the way Bunyasi’ late father Lamberito was buried “What is clear is that this time around the County’s governorship is supposed to go to a Muluhyia proper and the Deputy to the Teso as well as Senatorial and Women Rep. That is despite the Teso Community being perceived as having a huge voting block than that of their Luhyia counterparts,” said Mzee Linus Echakara from Teso North, and if Hon Bunyasi was to contest and then win the Governor’s post, then that would be unfair to the Luhya Community.
We cannot have a situation where a Teso is taking over from a fellow Teso in Busia, Hon. Bunyasi is a member of the Teso community. The Weekly Vision Investigative team on the ground found that according to locals the legislator’s grandfather was adopted and completely assimilated by the Baguri chief’s family of the old days after migrating from the Teso Bagara clan to look for work within the Bakhayo
Mzee Echakara said that exists amicable longstanding traditional arrangements entrenched in historic inter-marriages between the two communities that have never witnessed any conflict between them since time immemorial and continue to bond them together. The situation is such that thousands of Tesos have been assimilated into Luhyia and speak their dialects fluently as well as Luhyia’s with the Teso to the extent that most times it is extremely difficult to distinguish who is who – especially between the Teso and Bakhayo. As at the beginning of the year, many leading personalities from the county had declared to vie for the governorship post in this year’s general elections.
Apart from Bunyasi, the others are Senator Amos Wako, former cabinet minister and MP Funyula constituency Paul Otuoma who contested at the last general elections as an independent candidate and lost. The County Women Rep Florence Mutua, Eng. Sidai skipped vying at the last elections, Deputy governor Moses Mulomi, former Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) Chief Executive Lucas Meso and others who are yet to declare.
He is in big trouble because he has never campaigned in other parts of the county, he has been content with his Nambale constituency from which Matayos was curved out, the legislator must not forget the fact that in case his party leader Musalia Mudavadi makes another gaffe and enters into an alliance with the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Presidential candidate Deputy President William Ruto, Bunyasi’s political future will be doomed- Mr Kulohoma
It is also emerging that although Mr Bunyasi made it on the ANC ticket at the last general elections for his second term in parliament, this time around contesting and winning a gubernatorial seat in Busia county with a very heavy Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) presence and influence of its party leader among the population in Busia is another matter altogether.
That this time around the stake is much higher with ODM party leader Raila Odinga as one of the leading presidential candidates in the 2022 elections. This situation is worsened by the fact that Bunyasi’s party leader Musalia Mudavadi has been a lacklustre politician throughout his home base in western Kenya and worse across the country.
Busia County veteran politician and former Busia County Councillor from Budalang’i sub-county Oduori Kulohoma said: “Bunyasi is in big trouble because for once before this attempt for the gubernatorial seat this year, he has never campaigned in the other parts of the county, but has been content with his Nambale constituency from which Matayos was curved out.” Mr Kulohoma also told the legislator that he must not forget the fact that in case Musalia makes another historic gaffe and enter into an alliance with the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Presidential candidate Deputy President William Ruto, the legislator’s political future will be doomed. He said that alliance will also likely spell doom for ANC support in Busia county largely dominated by ODM and recently witnessed by the consistently hostile receptions Ruto received during his persistent visits.
In his home constituency, Mr Bunyasi is besieged by the highly questionable and contestable manner in which he has managed the constituency’s CDF fund, from issuing bursaries to needy students to development projects. A former aspirant for the Members County Assembly (MCA) seat from Bunyasi’s ward Vitalis Makokha Wambia said: “When it comes to the bursaries, we are talking of needy students being awarded between Ksh. 2000 to 5,000 for each student per term when they need more than Kshs. 15, 000 to 55, 000 a term.”
Wambia said the legislator’s management style has allowed his closest cronies and handlers to conspire with secondary schools headteachers to loot from the CDF kitty by posting ghost students, with schools receiving higher awards cheques and the money being shared between the headteachers and his goons.
“The situation is so bad that development projects involving physical structures in educational institutions, administrative units among others, contracts are awarded to his cronies and relatives who do shoddy jobs and get paid at highly inflated rates to line up their own pockets. Just check the lifestyle dispensations of these characters from being penniless a few years ago to lavish braggarts,” he said. This state of affairs has triggered the eruption of burning queries whether Bunyasi wants to transfer this kind of leadership from the constituency to the county government with billions of shillings under his control.
There is also the question of unquenchable weakness with chronic escapades with un-married women to students and other peoples’ wives in his village, a major weakness that has also plagued Governor Ojaamong’s tenure. Do the people of Busia want to replace the governorship with the same traits as the outgoing governor as exhibited throughout his two-term tenure? All these with the negative impact and consequences they are likely to have on the county’s development programmes?
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