I concur with Gerald Baraza over the Luyia politics and fully agree that the Luyia Elite is in confusion. One thing that is elusive is the luyia unity and the spine that must wadoff the predetory political wolves in Narc Kenya and Kanu. These advances compounded by stubborn and demeaning poverty in all of luhya land makes the masses gullible and vulnerable to any breadcrump politicians in the likes of Jirongo and Livondo. They exploit the proximity of the luhya to the luo and the subsquent stereotypes to make sure the Luyiah do not support the Luo. Indeed it is important to note that today the government scheme to drop goodies leaves Luo Nyanza and Western Kenya out. If anything they tax them more by controlling the Sugar sector, the fisheries and the maize. These taxes makes the luyia a perenial begger on the doorsteps of the King's palace (read Ugali at State house) that compromises the Luyia unity and consigns them to perpertual status quo holders of the brief.
Allow me to stop whinning and make suggestions on how to consolidate the luyia. One there is need to form clusters around economic activities that will galvanize luyia into economic interest groups around fishing industry and its subsequent services, like marketing, lobbying and advocacy, actual fishing and control of territorial waters. This area will galvanize the Abanyala, Abasamia, Abamarachi and Abakhayo of Busia District to an economic power house around the lake. Two, you would galvanize the luyia around the sugar sector and remove the explioting regulations of weighing the sugar cane at the factory door. You therefore must put in place a cane transport system and weighing at the farms so that the pilferage and the weighing without the farmer can consolidate the farmers interest. Then slowly lobby for a 40% stake in the sugar company that receive the cane so that the farmer is directly involved in the growing, processing and marketing of the sugar at all levels. This approach will consolidate the Abawanga, Ababukusu, Abadura, Abamarachi, Abakhayo, Abatsoto, Abanyala ba ndombi, Abatachoni and Abatirichi who grow sugar cane. fourth and lastly ensure that there is an economy around the maize and cotton to create sustainable agriculture around the people of western Kenya. Only then shall begin to lobby them into one political entity. Because then they will be economically empowered to contribute to the intrigues of political social economic dorminance. As it is most of them are in poverty and live below a dollar a day. They form the majority of house maids, watchmen and grounds men in most urban households in the Kenya.
I have confidence that they produce the best brains in the country and they must be supported to continue to give a share of this brain in shaping the political and economic landscape of our country. The writer of this document shares the same academic background with the chairman of the Chambers of Justice. It is indeed a moment of pride the circumstances under which we went to school not withstanding. Today we can dream and know that we shall not wake up in a nightmare, but rather that under the guidance of the likes of Ababu albeit young at age and at heart there is light at the end of the tunnel.
I strongly believe that political power must go hand in hand with economic empowerment of the people of Western Kenya. This can not happen when we take the lone ranger approach. We must forge unity and demand power even if by force. We have been taken for granted for so long. We must as Luyias be proud and protective of our resources. This includes human resource.
I am charged to contribute in whatever way possible to the realization of a strong luyia community, empowered, educated, active participant in shaping the destiny of this country.
James Wabwire Agoro.
Pax Christi International,
P.O Box 53958-00200,Lenana Road Nairobi-Kenya.
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