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The rise and fall of Washiali in politics after being dethroned as Chief Whip

Kakamega

By Collins Matubwi

As the independence party KANU was almost getting out of power in 2002, a little known Benjamin Washiali was a humble young from the populous Mumias constituency though with a bright future ahead of him.

This is the time Washiali was also joining politics after making a few coins by doing business with the collapsed Mumias Sugar Company.

He vied for the Mumias parliamentary seat but terribly lost to the incumbent MP Wycliffe Osundwa.

Benjamin Washiali

However, Washiali was lucky when he joined ODM, the Raila Odinga led party in 2007 and for the very first time, he was elected as the MP for Mumias constituency. ODM was the then most populous political party in the country.

It was a tough tussle against pitting Engineer Julius Nyarotso alias ‘amakaratasi’, Francis Kangwana, Martin Oloo among others.

It is here in ODM that Washiali’s bromance with the Deputy President William Ruto when he was the Agriculture Minister. Washiali owned an undisputable trust from the his constituents, thanks to his frequent demonstrations against the management of Mumias Sugar Company, though to critical thinkers, they claimed he was using the demos in a bid to do business with the sugar miller that is on its deathbed.

It is here in ODM that Washiali’s bromance with the Deputy President William Ruto when he was the Agriculture Minister. Washiali owned an undisputable trust from the his constituents, thanks to his frequent demonstrations against the management of Mumias Sugar Company, though to critical thinkers, they claimed he was using the demos in a bid to do business with the sugar miller that is on its deathbed.

However, one of the most controversial moves he made was when he organized a demonstration against the management of the Mumias Sugar Outgrowers Company (Moco). He successfully antagonized cane farmers and the management. This are some of the reasons the ‘ailing’ Moco collapsed.

Washiali leading demos in Mumias

He made cane farmers believe that he was advocating for their rights when in real sense he was about gaining cheap political publicity for his own selfish benefits.

Moco was a union of cane farmers with elected directors to protect farmers interests, which included, better and timely pay of cane delivered to Mumias Sugar and its employees, adequate farm inputs, advocating for better conditions of service and also in conjunction with Mumias Sacco society (Mosaco), they helped cane farmers invest at least 15 per cent of their total income.

The fall of Moco started way back on  May 28, 1976 when its accounts were put under the custody of Mumias Sugar Company (MSC) by the then Attorney General Charles Njonjo through a brokered deal to have the sugar miller manage Moco’s accounts on grounds that its more than 77,000 farmers were illiterate.

The fall of Moco started way back on  May 28, 1976 when its accounts were put under the custody of Mumias Sugar Company (MSC) by the then Attorney General Charles Njonjo through a brokered deal to have the sugar miller manage Moco’s accounts on grounds that its more than 77,000 farmers were illiterate.

This was one of the biggest blunders in the history of Mumias sugar that led to its collapse and Washiali instead of salvaging the situation; he gave it a wide berth despite being in a position to champion for the revival of Moco.

Washiali, a renowned party hopper jumped ship to join UDF in 2013 and the Jubilee party in 2017 that elevated him to the position of National Assembly Chief Whip. It is in his three terms as an MP that he assaulted Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya on November 25, 2016 in the presence of ODM leader Raila Odinga. He would then beat one of his supporters inside a sugarcane plantation.

Washiali and Raila

After being appointed as Chief Whip, Washiali’s political life was on the right direction and even he developed ambitions of becoming Kakamega Governorship position in 2022. He traversed the county the better part of 2018 and 2019 solidifying his base but again made a blunder when he accused church leaders of making him poor.

He said in governorship campaigns he will not use any money since it is what makes them (politicians corrupt). This announcement did not go down well among church leaders.

It was on October 18, 2018 during a fund raiser for boda boda Sacco in Malava Sub County where he said church leaders have hatched a plot of calling politicians to fund raise for them in exchange of ‘Special prayers’

“Before I came here today, I have conducted at least 18 church harambees in my constituency. The matter is complicated during campaigns in which when you give Sh10,000 in a funds drive, they don’t clap for you but when your competitor gives Sh100,000, he is clapped for and gets the ‘Special prayer,” said Washiali.

“Before I came here today, I have conducted at least 18 church harambees in my constituency. The matter is complicated during campaigns in which when you give Sh10,000 in a funds drive, they don’t clap for you but when your competitor gives Sh100,000, he is clapped for and gets the ‘Special prayer,” said Washiali.

He added: “Since I declared my interest to vie for the Kakamega governorship position, it means you spend Sh0.5million in a single weekend which translates to Sh2million in a month. For one year you would have spent Sh24million and for the next four years before 2022 polls, you will have coughed out Sh96million,”

“The salary of a governor is Sh1.5million which in 60 months (5years ) will be Sh90million.Where will you get the balance to ensure you recover your campaign money. This is the genesis of why politicians after getting elected, they swindle the tax payers money to recover campaign money,”

During the BBI meeting at Bukhungu, he kidnapped himself so that he cannot join Tanga Tanga MPs at Bomani grounds in Mumias town for a parallel presser. He caused anxiety and even his bodyguard recorded a statement over a missing person at Shianda Police station on January 18, 2020.

MPs led by Didmus Barasa (Kimilili), John Waluke (Sirisia) Dan Wanyama (Webuye West), Justus Murunga (Matungu), Charles Gimose (Vihiga), Ex Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa and Ex Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale led his constituent to look for him in vain only to resurface the following day that he was having fun in Kisumu. He was afraid of being removed as Chief Whip.

Benjamin Washiali

And now Washiali’s political career is crumbling after being dehorned his Chief Whip post when he rebelled against President Uhuru Kenyatta. He was replaced by his neighbour, Navakholo MP Emmanuel Wangwe to who he has branded him as a traitor. He has dropped his governorship bid and even he fear losing his Mumias East parliamentary seat.

And now Washiali’s political career is crumbling after being dehorned his Chief Whip post when he rebelled against President Uhuru Kenyatta. He was replaced by his neighbour, Navakholo MP Emmanuel Wangwe to who he has branded him as a traitor. He has dropped his governorship bid and even he fear losing his Mumias East parliamentary seat.

With Ruto’s political ambitions at doldrums, who is the political godfather of Washiali, his political career is also in limbo. Washiali’s political career seems to have reached its peak but time will tell. Who never knows…..maybe in 2020, he will be at home remembering his good times in politics.

Ends

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