MIGORI politicians have blamed each other for the heckling that interrupted President Uhuru Kenyatta’s rally in the area as police arrested five people.
A battle for political supremacy between local politicians is said to have been the main cause of the heckling.
While Migori Parliamentary Group chairman Omondi Anyanga yesterday accused Governor Okoth Obado of being behind the chaos, Obado blamed his political opponents for orchestrating the rowdiness.
“Anyone mentioning my name or linking me to this is driven by malice. The governor knows best why he was heckled,” said Nyatike MP Anyanga.
During the Presidential function on Monday angry youths heckled Obado and threw shoes at the dais when the governor rose to address the gathering.
An MP who was in attendance is said to have hired the hecklers with a view to embarrassing Obado but another group of hecklers hired by yet another politician joined in and became unruly even as their masters tried to calm them.
Yesterday Obado apologized to the President and accused local politicians of being behind the heckling.
“It was purely political and it was idle people who engineered the whole thing. I am very disappointed with what happened and want to express my deep sincere apologies to President Uhuru as I know he meant well for the region,” said Obado.
Migori County leaders blamed the fracas on boda boda operators within Migori town after their leaders were assaulted at county government headquarters when they went to seek redress over a simmering taxation dispute that long preceded the Presidential tour.
Last week boda boda operators demonstrated against alleged high taxation by the county government. An attempt to seek a solution from the county authorities ended up with the motorcyclists beaten by askaris.
Eight operators have since taken two county government officials to court to face assault charges.
“There has been tension in town between the governor and operators who have been feeling sidelined,” Joseph Nyapete, a youth leader, said.
Four MPs from the county also apologised to President Kenyatta and accused “retrogressive forces” of being behind the chaos.
“We strongly condemn the unfortunate incident brought about by a section of the crowd,” the MPs said in a statement read by Uriri MP John Kobado.
Kisumu East MP Shakeel Shabbir said the Luo community “could not apologise enough to the President”.
“We have been shamed in our backyard, but we want to assure the President this is an isolated incident. It is not the whole of Nyanza,” he said.
Homa Bay MP Peter Kaluma denied the violence had been planned by local political networks.
“The nature of the fracas we saw suggests that it could not be organised by an individual politician,” he said.
During the visit, the President addressed residents at Awendo, Uriri and Migori town.
In another development, Cord MPs threatened to walk out of a joint press conference in Parliament after a Jubilee Coalition-allied MP insinuated that Cord leader Raila Odinga was responsible for the heckling.
The 12 MPs from Jubilee and Cord had called a press conference to condemn the incident.
The first to speak was Mohamed Shidiye (Lagdera) who immediately claimed that Raila funded the hecklers.
Cord MPs Rashid Bedzimba (Kisauni), Simion Ogari (Bomachoge) and George Oner (Rangwe) walked away a few steps before Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau pleaded with them to stay.
Kamau then proceeded to address the press conference and condemned the incident. He said the episode is regrettable and urged police to investigate the matter to establish if some politicians planned and funded the hecklers.
“We are totally dismayed by the incident and we believe this is a democratically elected government and therefore we should respect the President,” he said.