Martha Karua dismisses Musalia Mudavadi's call for "political unity" during Kakamega fete

Bishop Sulumeti

Bishop Emeritus Philip Sulumeti (second right) cuts a cake with H.E Herbetus Bert Van Megen and Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa. Looking on are Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua (left) and Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi in Kakamega on  October 29, 2022.

Photo credit: Isaac Wale | Nation Media Group

Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi and Narc-Kenya party leader Martha Karua clashed during prayers to mark the Golden Jubilee celebration of Bishop Philip Sulumeti, a pioneering cleric of the Catholic Diocese of Kakamega.

But Catholic bishops called on leaders from the political divide to put aside their political differences and concentrate on serving Kenyans who are grappling with a myriad of challenges ranging from the troubling economy to starvation.

The clerics said since the election is over, leaders need to unite in finding solutions to the challenges facing Kenyans.

The two clashed over the call to put aside their differences and work towards improving the welfare of Kenyans.

Mr Mudavadi echoed the call by clerics as Ms Karua observed that such calls were likely to lead the country into a one-party State.

Golden Jubilee

This was the first time Mr Mudavadi was returning to his Western backyard after he was appointed Prime Cabinet Secretary.

The event to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Episcopal Bishop was held at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega town.  

Mr Mudavadi, who presented President William Ruto’s message to Bishop Sulumeti, described the clergy as a household name in the country and a powerful religious figure who has contributed immensely to the education and health sectors.

 “Election is over and we should put our differences aside and serve Kenyans. We have a common destiny to serve and revive the economy and we can only do this if we move together as a united front,” said Mr Mudavadi.

Ms Karua called on Azimio members to remain steadfast in their coalition saying Kenya needs unity in diversity and not in terms of a single party.

 She urged Azimio governors to cooperate with the national government without joining the Kenya Kwanza side.

“Mr (Fernandes) Barasa, cooperate with the national government because that is the only way to bring benefits to the people of Kakamega but maintain your position in Azimio. Kama ni kufanya kazi, tufanye kazi kwa pamoja tukiheshimiana na mtu akiwa mahali pake (if it is working together, let us work together with respect to each other and when everybody is in his place,” she said.

Catholic Diocese

Kakamega leaders Governor Barasa, Woman Representative Elsie Muhanda and Senator Boni Khalwale applauded Bishop Sulumeti as a person who was instrumental in the development of the social amenities in the region under the Catholic Diocese.

 “As a county, we recognised his efforts of direct involvement in healthcare, education and social activities. We awarded him the Order of the Resident Shield for his contribution to education and healthcare. We pray that the Episcopal Jubilee will be your springboard to more achievements,” said Mr Barasa.

Mr Khalwale said Bishop Sulumeti brings history to academia after spearheading the construction of schools and sponsoring students who have succeeded nationally.

“Under his leadership, there is a hospital at Mukumu, Mumias and several schools that have performed well in the national examinations,” said Mr Khalwale.

Ms Muhanda, a member of the Azimio coalition dismissed the calls by Ms Karua and urged all leaders to come together for the sake of development.

 “Development does not know about Azimio or Kenya Kwanza. We need to work together and not confine ourselves to our political cocoons as our people suffer. President Ruto should move fast and implement his manifesto so that Kenyans can benefit from his leadership,” she said. 

The 85-year-old Bishop Emeritus Sulumeti was first ordained as the Priest of the Catholic Church in Kisumu in 1966 before he rose to become the Auxiliary Bishop in 1972. 

He retired in 2014 after 56 years of service to the church of which 44 years were in Kakamega as the Catholic Bishop. He was later succeeded by Bishop Joseph Obanyi.

“I don’t understand how Bishop Sulumeti maintained the delicate balancing of fatherly love and fatherly discipline because his ministry covered everybody,” pointed out Rev Obanyi.

Bishop Obanyi called for urgent interventions by the government to come to the aid of those adversely affected by famine in more than 20 counties.

Bishop Sulumeti ordained many priests, including Archbishop Maurice Muhatia Makumba of Kisumu Archdiocese and Bishop Mark Kadima Wamukoya of Bungoma Diocese. 

The bishops described Bishop Sulumeti as a source of wisdom, care and inspiration and a canon lawyer who contributed to the Constitution after chairing the consensus building committee.

Bishop Sulumeti reminded Kenyans to uphold the Constitution.

 “The Constitution which I fought hard to put in place holds a special place for women,” he said.   


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