Mulembe Nation is a phrase commonly used to refer to the Luhya people of Western Kenya as far as politics and their involvement in the national debate is concerned. It also refers to the zeal of the community, which is diverse in ethnicity, to unite.
Mulembe Nation has, without any doubt, produced renowned leaders in previous governments under different presidents: the late Michael Kijana Wamalwa, Moody Awori, Kenneth Marende, among others.
There are also fresh and energetic ones yearning to take the mantle: Musalia Mudavadi from Vihiga, Eugene Wamalwa from Kakamega, Kenneth Lusaka from Bungoma, Wycliffe Oparanya from Kakamega, Moses Wetangula from Bungoma, among others.
Owing to that, it has been a period of transition and maturity in the political life of the Mulembe Nation. As far as the race to State House is concerned, we have seen Mulembe leaders join hands with others from the different regions for political gains.
In 2013, FORD Kenya went into a coalition to form the Coalition of Reforms and Democracy (CORD); senior principals being Raila Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi, and Kalonzo Musyoka. In 2017, the National Super Alliance (NASA) was formed comprising of the Orange Democratic Party (ODM) of Raila Odinga, Wiper of Kalonzo Musyoka, FORD – K of Moses Wetang’ula, and Amani National Congress (ANC)of Musalia Mudavadi.
All this, in the calculation to get the numbers needed for clinching the top seat, went futile.
Now as we head to the 2022 general elections, Luhya kingpins Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetangula are staking odds with Baringo senator and son of the late president Moi, Gideon Moi, and Kalonzo Musyoka in the controversial One Kenya Alliance (OKA), which is struggling with choosing a flagbearer.
It is indeed going to be yet another tough decision-making process for the Luhya community considering that other leaders such as Wycliffe Oparanya (supporting Raila Odinga’s ODM) and Didmus Barasa (a diehard of DP Willaim Ruto’s UDA), are dancing to a different tune.
It is too early to judge, though, but the question remains, will Mulembe Nation have a voice this time round like other big communities after the 2022 general elections?
FK Zack is a talented sports journalist and analyst who writes excellently in Kiswahili.