Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi has broken his silence on the ongoing Luhya unity talk, telling his critics that he was not interested in being a Luhya kingpin, but the President of Kenya.
Mr Mudavadi said he has set his eyes on the country's top seat and he would not be distracted by a section of leaders and individuals discussing regional leadership.
"If Kenyans see my capability, I will be asking for the job to be President in 2022 and not to be a Luhya kingpin," Mr Mudavadi said during a vernacular radio talk show on Ramogi FM on Friday.
Mr Mudavadi's reactions came hot on the heels of a meeting convened by a section of Luhya leaders in Nairobi last Week, where they endorsed Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa to spearhead the region's destiny.
The 27 lawmakers tasked Mr Oparanya, who is also the Council of Governors chairman, to provide political leadership to the region; while Mr Wamalwa was prevailed upon to ensure the interests of the community in government are secured.
But the meeting, which was said to have the blessings of President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga, seems not to have gone down well with Mr Mudavadi and his lieutenants.
While Mr Mudavadi said he was ready to cooperate with the government, he pointed out that his ANC party is still committed to the Nasa pact and that he will not be entering into a coalition with Jubilee Party.
"I have said that we are law-abiding citizens and ready to cooperate with the government to address issues affecting our people and not break the law by joining a coalition with the ruling party," he said.
He added: "If we are fighting corruption and Jubilee is also doing so, we can cooperate on that, as well as working together to recover our economy ravaged by Covid-19 and to get employment for our people."
The ANC leader's allies also laughed off reports of the endorsement of Mr Oparanya and Mr Wamalwa as their representatives at the national level and termed them as self-seekers.
"Their actions should not give us sleepless nights. It is too early to start getting into coalitions. This will come six months to the election. Let us continue supporting Mr Mudavadi for 2022," Sabatia MP Alfred Agoi said.
They said it is not yet time for coalition building in the country despite growing push to join the new alliance that is being led by President Kenyatta.
Mr Agoi, his Lurambi counterpart Titus Khamala and Vihiga Woman Rep Beatrice Adagala, however, assured that Mr Mudavadi is close to President Kenyatta in the renewed push to revive the region's economy.
The parliamentarians from Vihiga and Kakamega counties noted that Mr Mudavadi will consider getting into coalitions at a later date, as he is currently engaged in popularising his 2022 presidential bid.
The sentiments made separately come days after independence party Kanu entered a post-election pact with Jubilee Party.
The new coalition has seen Senate leaders allied to Deputy President William Ruto pushed out, with Mr Mudavadi's allies urging the second in command to seek truce with State House for 'disrespecting' the Head of State or ship out to avoid an impeachment.
MISTRUST OF RUTO
However, Mr Agoi, Ms Adagala and Mr Khamala ruled out a political pact with Dr Ruto ahead of 2022, only insisting that Mr Mudavadi is a friend to President Kenyatta.
Mr Agoi and Ms Adagala, while speaking in Vihiga County, said they are keen on supporting President Kenyatta's development agenda and insisted that Mr Mudavadi is still the Luhya spokesman, sentiments that were earlier corroborated by Central Organisation of Trade Unions boss Francis Atwoli in a radio interview.
Mr Khamala - another ally of Mr Mudavadi - who spoke separately in Kakamega County, said:
"We are firmly behind Mr Mudavadi and support his presidential bid in 2022. Those deriding him for not jumping into signing the post-election agreement with Jubilee should know ANC belongs in the Nasa coalition."
And during a recent radio interview on Mulembe FM, Mr Atwoli rekindled debate on the elusive Luhya unity and maintained that the ANC leader remains the community's spokesman, urging that he should be accorded respect.
"In December 2015, Mr Mudavadi was anointed the spokesman of the Luhya community at Bukhungu stadium. We shall not sit and watch other politicians disrespect him," said Mr Atwoli.
Added Mr Atwoli: "I cannot, therefore, trust the DP because he has never had the interest of the Luhya community at all, and all he has done is pick leaders who will troop to his Sugoi home in Uasin Gishu County for handouts."
He, however, said he was planning to hold another Bukhungu Two rally in Kakamega next year, 2021, through which the community will be given direction on who to support in the 2022 presidential race.
"Our course as a community has been to elect leaders who are selfish and have no political stand of their own. All they do is cheer other leaders so that they can receive handouts, while those who elected them go hungry," said Mr Atwoli.
He added: "We want the Luhya community to have a substantial stake in the next government. That is why I have been vocal in advocating for the Building Bridges Initiative because it will open up the political space and ensure all communities are represented in the next government."
At the same time, Mr Agoi challenged the DP to seek truce with State House or opt out of government amid reports of an impending impeachment occasioned by widening cracks within the ruling Jubilee Party.
Mr Agoi warned that Dr Ruto had been exposed following the ouster of his foot soldiers in the Senate, a move that could risk him being subjected to an embarrassing impeachment process.
Mr Agoi and Ms Adagala said Mr Kenyatta should be respected and noted that they were in support of the current ejection of Dr Ruto's men from leadership positions for failing to toe their party line.
"There is infighting in Jubilee. The Kieleweke faction is now overpowering Tangatanga. The President and his deputy are reading from different scripts," said Mr Agoi.
He added: "The Deputy President should run to State House and ask for forgiveness. If Mr Kenyatta declines, Dr Ruto should tender his resignation because if he continues to stay on, he will be impeached."
Mr Agoi said the President should quickly reorganise his government and shed off the infighting in his party to enable the country move forward.
On her part, Ms Adagala said: "We support the President on the move to oust errant party members. He should step up the cleaning. If someone is not toeing the party line, he or she should be removed. People should stop disrespecting the President."
Additional reporting by Benson Amadala