Outa ego, leadership appetite rattles ‘lone-ranger’ Nyong’o

Thursday, April 30th, 2020 00:00 |
Kisumu Senator Fred Outa (right), Governor Peter Anyang Nyong’o during happier days at a political rally in Kisumu Town. Photo/PD/FILE

Burning ambitions by Kisumu Senator Fred Outa coupled with what critics describe as a lone-ranger attitude by Governor Anyang’ Nyongo’ has ignited a vicious war in the county between former allies.

Outa is already in a spirited campaign to oust Nyong’o who he backed for the seat in the last election.

The two have been engaged in a battle, the latest revolving around Nyongo’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and displacement of thousands of families by floods mainly in Muhoroni and Nyando areas of the county.

The abrasive senator has accused Nyong’o of doing little for the flood-hit victims who hail from his Kano clan as well as failure to cushion Kisumu residents against the coronavirus pandemic. 

 “It is my take and feeling from my interactions with the people on the ground that County Government of Kisumu is unprepared for any eventuality,” says Outa.

He said only three Covid-19 test facilities were set up in Kisumu alone meaning the other five sub-counties within the larger county were left out.  

“The whole process has been mismanaged in my view and we are demanding transparency for the sake of the people we represent.

My job is to oversight and I will not be quiet when we have a big problem looming.”

Outa is man on transit, scaling political ladder in successive election cycles. After serving as Nyando MP from 2013, ‘Nyaruath’ as he’s fondly referred to by his supporters, scaled up to become the county’s second senator in the 2017 General Elections, a feat achieved with unequivocal support of Nyong’o.

With 2022 fast approaching Outa has displayed his ruthless streak of ambition by alienating Nyong’o from vote-rich Nyando and Muhoroni sub-counties while positioning for a stab at the governorship barely two years after teaming up with the professor for their common interests. 

But speaking to People Daily yesterday, Nyong’o dismissed Outa’s claims saying: “We are in the thick of things, fighting Covid-19 as well as the displacement of our people by floods. It is double-tragedy for us in Kisumu.”

Nyong’o accused the senator of “unhygienic” politics that has no place in the 21st century. 

“We have decided to ignore the non-sensical propaganda by the Outa group. They know we are working hard to ensure our people benefit from devolution.

They are fighting us because they know if we succeed, they have no chance of being elected.”

Nyong’o says his alliance with Outa in the last election was a mistake. “He needed me more than I needed him.

Outa joined my campaign late seeking to benefit from my wider support because I had served as senator of the county,” said the governor.

Their sudden vicious attacks have left pundits and supporters confounded about what caused their breakup.

Backed by the vote-rich Nyando, Muhoroni and Kisumu East sub-counties, Outa knows he only needs to bully his way into another of the remaining four sub-counties to trounce Nyong’o.

And being the second most high profile political figure in the county he has taken to the task so vigorously that the governor has little muscle to counter.

The Kano clan, which make up majority of residents of Kisumu, has realised the potent power it wields and wants one of them to lead the county. 

The clan has fully bought into Outa’s campaign despite having a lingering grudge with the senator for teaming up with Nyong’o to oust Jack Ranguma from the helm in 2017.

For Kano voters, Outa stands out as the only one from the spearheading their quest to reclaim the city.

Outa has roped in other elected leaders into his camp while Nyong’o is holding on with three sub-counties in Seme, from where he hails, Nyakach where deputy governor Mathews Owili hails and Kisumu Town West.

Kisumu Central sub-county, a cosmopolitan base likely to vote will determine who triumphs between Outa and Nyong’o.

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