Raila, Gusii leaders in effort to mend fences

Friday, July 2nd, 2021 00:00 |
Kisii leaders and ODM chief Raila Odinga at Serena Hotel yesterday. Photo/PD/Emmanuel Watson

ODM leader Raila Odinga yesterday held a meeting with leaders from the Gusii community in a move to mend fences following the acrimonious Bonchari by-election.

A brief statement from the ODM leader indicated that the meeting was called to discuss development matters in the Nyanza region.

“Discussed matters of national interest and the development of the Nyanza region at a working lunch hosted by leaders from the Gusii community led by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and Governor James Ongwae,” read Raila’s brief statement. 

A separate statement from the ODM Communications director Philip Etale suggested the meeting was called to reconcile with Gusii leaders.

“Leaders from Gusii region led by CS @FredMatiang’[email protected]@TimothyMEBosire & @SenJanetOngera have resolved to put aside their political differences & work together for the good of the people & the region.

They made the resolve during a lunch mtg with [email protected],” read the tweet.

Also in attendance at the Serena Hotel meeting were Suna East MP Junet Mohamed, Kitutu Chache North MP Jimmy Angwenyi, ODM national treasurer Timothy Bosire and Kisii Senator Prof Sam Ongeri.

Contacted, Bosire was non-committal about the meeting’s deliberations, saying it was called to discuss development matters.

“As you can see from the statement, it was a lunch meeting to catch up with issues affecting our region, especially development,” said Bosire.

But another source close to some of the leaders present said the meeting was called to reconcile the Kisii ODM brigade especially Ongwae, with Dr Matiang’i following the acrimony that characterised the Bonchari by-election campaigns won by ODM’s Pavel Oimeke.

Relations between the ODM leadership in the region and Dr Matiang’i sunk to an all time low when police officers, believed to have been acting on instructions from the regional security team under the CS raided Ongwae’s home and dispersed a gathering on the eve of the by-election.

Police officers also arrested and locked up Bosire on the eve of the by-elections. 

Ongwae would later protests that he was having dinner at his residence when a contingent of about 50 security officers stormed his residence and broke his gate, claiming he was having a meeting past curfew hours.

The governor said the officers told him they had instructions from their bosses, adding he never saw such for the time he worked as a senior government officer.

“We are a peace-loving country and protocol should be followed. The police were given wrong information,” Ongwae said, adding the harassment was linked to the May 18 by-election.

In an apparent jibe at the CS, Ongwae urged restraint from those charged with exercising authority, adding the raid at his residence was unjustified.

Ongwae also complained that police officers have been following and harassing ODM campaign teams in Bonchari. 

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