MP John Waluke's Rise From Wetangula's Bodyguard to DP Ruto's Ally

  • Deputy President William Ruto greets Sirisia MP John Waluike at an event in Bungoma County in 2018
    Deputy President William Ruto (left) greets Sirisia MP John Waluke (right) at an event in Bungoma County in 2018
    File
  • Kenyans were left in shock when Chief Magistrate Elizabeth Juma made a historic ruling against Sirisia MP John Waluke when he was ordered to pay over Ksh 700 million or face 10 years in jail over Ksh 300 million maize scandal.

    Waluke is now facing an uncertain political future despite having worked hard through the years to become a leading political figure in Western Kenya. 

    Waluke grew up in Yabeko, Bungoma County and landed his first job as a family driver to the late Mathew Wakhungu, husband to Grace Wakhungu who is former Vice President Moody Awori's sister and Professor Judy Wakhungu's mother. 

    A series of differences with the family saw them part ways. However, he used the influence he had garnered to enlist into the military which he quit a few years later. Neither KDF nor Waluke ever disclosed why the legislator quit. Waluke nevertheless argues that he retired from the KDF. 

    Sirisai MP John Waluke, and Grace Wakhungu in court on Thursday, June 25.
    Sirisia MP John Waluke, and Grace Wakhungu in court on Thursday, June 25.

    In 1992, Wetangula then appointed him as his personal aide, a post which earned him the nickname Major. The Senator had then been nominated as a KANU MP. 

    "It's during his stint as one of the influential politician's guards that he earned the name 'Major'. The nickname has since then stuck," one of his childhood friends stated while speaking with the Standard.

    Wetangula and Waluke maintained a long-standing friendship until 2007 when they crossed paths. Waluke ditched Wetangula's Ford-Kenya for ODM and contested for the Sirisia seat but lost to the Senator. 

    In 2013, Sirisia was split into two constituencies, Sirisia and Kabuchai. Waluke won the Sirisia seat under an ODM seat but later defected from Raila Odinga's camp to Jubilee which won him a re-election in 2017. 

    Waluke then became a staunch defender of Deputy President William Ruto. 

    While being sentenced on Thursday, June 25, Walukhe and Grace Wakhungu who was roped into the Ksh 297 million maize scandal were accused of robbing hungry Kenyans. 

    The debate will be on whether he would lose his seat or not, with the 2010 constitution having loopholes that can be exploited. The old constitution stipulated that a legislator loses his seat if he serves more than six months in jail.

    However, the 2010 constitution is not clear on what may happen. Article 103 states that an MP loses a seat when he or she dies, is absent from eight Parliament sittings without permission, if removed from office under the Leadership Integrity Act, resignation from Parliament or recalled by his political party. 

    This means that the decision to remove his name from the register of MPs will be left to the hands of anti-corruption and integrity laws and offices. However, if ousted, the seat will offer a major battle between DP William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga who will be out to reclaim the seat.

    Sirisia MP John Waluke and Grace Wakhungu in court.
    Sirisia MP John Waluke and Grace Wakhungu in court.