By Eunice Kayo and Mourice Seretta
The late Matungu Member of Parliament Honorable Justus Murunga was laid to rest on Saturday at his home at Makunda village, Matungu Constituency, Kakamega County.
His funeral service was held at Makunda Primary School was attended by Deputy President William Ruto, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga, Amani National Congress (ANC) party leader Musalia Mudavadi, Ford Kenya party leader who is also the Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula, Council of Governors Chair who is also the Kakamega Govenor Wycliffe Oparanya, several othet governors, several Members of Parliament, Several Senators and thousands of Matungu Constituency.
Leader after leader took to the podium and eulogized the late Murunga as a devoted leader who put the interests of his constituencies and family first.
DP Ruto said he worked closely with Murunga between 2018 and 2019 when he asked him to accompany him to Matungu to fundraise for women and youth in his Matungu constituency.
Ruto said that they had agreed with Murunga to put up a Technical Training College in Namamali, a KMTC in the constituency, a road from Itangalia to Mumias and a boda boda funds drive.
Ruto pledged Sh50 million for the TTC, Sh20 million for KMTC and pledged to do a funds drive for boda boda Sacco in Matungu come February or March 2021.
On Mumias Sugar Factory politics, Vihiga Senator George Khaniri who read the Parliamentary Service Commission condolences set the ball rolling when he asked Deputy President William Ruto to ensure their 2017 campaign pledge of reviving the company is kept.
“I was saddened when I passed by the Mumias Sugar Company and realized it is still silent. It will only be better to do something about that factory,” Khaniri said.
His remarks were echoed by Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula who was very categorical that the government failed when it allowed some cartels to run the factories.
Wetangula also asked DP Ruto to ensure the government sets aside funds to revive Mumias and Nzoia Sugar factories saying the two are the backbone of the Western Kenya economy and their going under was taking a toll on Western Kenya economy.
Lugari Member of Parliament Ayub Savula also echoed the same sentiments saying Mumias needed to be revived so as to enable the Western Kenya people have something to smile about again.
ANC party leader also waded into the matter saying that Mumias Factory will not be revived unless the national debt is not solved first.
“Let me be honest with you. We cannot revive Mumias if the national debt is not dealt with. We have to deal with the debt because that is where we will get money from that will be able to revive the factory,” Mudavadi said.
However, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Opranya said that having sat as the co0chair in the taskforce that was looking into how the factory was to be revived, said Raila, Ruto President Uhuru Kenyatta and himself knows what steps are being taken to revive thefactory asking residents to be patient and see the progress reviving of the factory is taking.
“All the woes of the farmers were dealt with by the taskforce. I’ll tell you that I now know more to do with sugar issues than anyone else. I will not divulge much now but just be patient,” Oparanya said.
On the same hot topic of Mumias, DP Ruto said that the national government was ready to give its shares in Mumias and Sony Sugar factories to repective counties for free so as the County governments can use them to revive the factories.
Ruto also clarified that the national government was not keen on leasing out the factories to investors but will let respective counties to look into it on how best they will run the factories and which investors they will want to run the factories.
On politics of unity, Wetangula, Wangamati, Lusaka and Mudavadi asked the community to unite so as to have a much more bargaining political power going forward.
Raila who said that he did not want to speak about politics at the funeral service only highlighted what brought about the handshake and the Building Bridges Initiative BBI and now the looming referendum, but hinted that ODM will field a candidate in the Matungu by-election when the time is ripe.
The BBI politics also featured in the sendoff with DP Ruto still maintaining that there was still enough time to amend the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill 2020.
Ruto maintained that the Bill has few issues that needs to be ironed out before it is taken to a vote that include having the 47 woman representative posts reinstated and that the referendum question to be multi-pronged.
“Do not underrate the intelligence of Kenyans. If they did vote with six ballot papers in the last elections, they can also answer multiple questions in a referendum.” Ruto said.
Ruto was answering Mudavadi who asked him to let the BBI drive be dealt and done away with so as to let the country move forward.
Ruto also read President Uhuru Kenyatta’s condolence speech to Murunga’s family.