Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Raila Odinga heckled as controversy over Kisumu monument continues

Christian faithful on Saturday heckled former Prime Minister leader Raila Odinga in Kisumu during protests against the erection of a Sikh monument in the town.

Mr Odinga was treated to a cold reception by the protestors who milled around monument demanding its removal.

They argued that no religious symbol should be erected in the town.

The protesting Christians requested Mr Odinga to declare that the statue be removed.

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As Mr Odinga addressed the protestors at the roundabout on Mosque road where the monument stands, the crowd chanted “No” in unison at every word that the Orange Democratic Movement leader said.

Mr Odinga’s attempt to explain that the statue was not evil using other artistic impressions of the bigger statue was also resisted.

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He later told the angry protestors that a meeting will be held on Monday to decide the procedure of removing the monument.

“We have decided in our meeting with the Sikhs, the governor and religious leaders from Kisumu that we chart a procedure for removing the statue,” said Mr Odinga.

“I have heard your cry and will do something about it,” he said with the crowd urging him to take the decision at that time.

“Remove it now or we do it ourselves!” the crowd cheered.

The protestors did not give Mr Odinga time to make a political statement as he seemed to be lacking a direct message on the removal of the statue.

“I have another good message for you, why not allow me say it before we resolve this matter of the statue?” he asked.

The crowd insisted that they would not listen until he declared the statue illegally erected.

“Leave politics for another day; this matter is crucial,” they said.


He was only rescued after one of the Sikh leaders told the jeering crowd that the controversial monument will be removed.

“We will remove this monument so as to bring an end to the controversy that has smeared our temple,” said Mr Charjeet Hayer, adding that the statue would be replaced with a fountain as they mark 100 years of their presence in the town.

Mr Odinga further disclosed that a monument will be erected in the town in honour of his father; which the crowd accepted.

“I have heard what you have said. I have my mind and will make a decision following what you have told me. We are going to put up a statue of my father at the Oginga Odinga Street,” he said.

Police lobbed teargas at the protestors for the third day moments after Mr Odinga left to disperse curious onlookers who were still milling around the monument.

The controversy around the monument was sparked after faithful allied to Dr David Owuor’s Ministry of Repentance and Holiness on Thursday raised the alarm that it was evil.

They said that the monument was a bad sign to the town since it signified idol worship in Kisumu which is dominated by Christians.

A document seen by Sunday Nation from the county government authorised the construction of a water fountain and not a

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