UNCERTAINITY AS UHURU NYANZA TOUR IS POSTPONED
On Monday, Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma led region’s Members of Parliament to what he described as a briefing session at the President’s Harambee House office in Nairobi, but after the meeting the delegation announced the President’s visit, which had been set for tomorrow, would not materialise.
The county leaders met the President’s political advisers Joshua Kuttuny and Nancy Gitau as well as his security team, revealed Ranguma, adding it was agreed that Uhuru’s visit would be confirmed “by the end of the week”.
The governor, who on Sunday told The Standard the President was expected tomorrow, explained that the rescheduling was necessary to facilitate consultations and that the visit would “likely be next week”.
“The change is to facilitate further consultations between the Office of the President and the leadership of the county,” Ranguma said.
Mr Kuttuny explained the tour was rescheduled because some MPs had requested more time to prepare for the visit.
Nyando MP Fred Outa was among those said to have complained that they had received the invitation on short notice.
State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu did not respond to calls or text messages from The Standard team seeking an official comment from the President.
And Munyori Buku, the director of media and external relations at State House, said he could not comment on the matter.
MPs who attended yesterday’s meeting included Ken Obura (Kisumu Central), Olago Aluoch (Kisumu West), James Nyikal (Seme), Onyango Oyoo (Muhoroni) and Fred Outa (Nyando). Kisumu County Woman Rep Rose Nyamunga was also present.
Kisumu East MP Shakeel Shabbir was the only Member of the National Assembly from the area who was absent. Mr Shabbir explained he had official engagements in his constituency, but confirmed that he had asked Mr Olago to represent him.
Kisumu Senator Anyang’ Nyong’o was also not present as he is out of the country on official duty.
At the meeting, the leaders reportedly agreed on the development projects to be initiated by the President.
Among them was inspection of the building of the Lake Basin Development Authority mall, commissioning of the Sh50 million Kajulu water project, and unveiling the construction of the Mamboleo
Sources explained they also discussed the possibility of reviving cotton mills in the region.
The leaders also reportedly agreed that the President’s tour would focus on development rather than politics.
Shabbir explained the area MPs were united in their decision to welcome the President and his team.
“We want to show the world that we respect the presidency and that we value development,” he said, adding, “We don’t want Kisumu to be isolated by the Jubilee administration as has happened in previous regimes. The fact that we are in the Opposition does not mean we must criticise the Government even on development initiatives.”
Mr Obura said they also wanted revival of local industries to boost the county’s economy.
Some of the industries, which collapsed more than a decade ago, include Kisumu Cotton Mills and Kenya Matches Limited. East African Breweries closed down its plant in the lakeside city.
“The revival of the cotton industry would boost our farmers who once benefited from selling the raw material,” said Obura.
He asked residents to give the President a warm welcome and shun divisive politics.
“Uhuru is coming here as President of Kenya and, therefore, we should accord him all the respect he deserves,” said Ranguma, noting that everything was set for the President’s visit.
“We don’t take for granted the fact that the President has considered Kisumu County for various development initiatives and we appreciate his coming,” he said.
Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti said President Kenyatta’s planned visit to Nyanza should not be politicised and asked leaders to give him a rousing welcome.
Addressing a press conference in his office yesterday, Mr Awiti said the President’s visit with his entire Cabinet and senior Government officials would not only boost the economy of Nyanza but also give local leaders an opportunity to engage him on the region’s development agenda.
“I am personally appealing to the President to extend his visit to Homa Bay because I want him to help us tarmac two key economic roads, Kendu Bay-Oyugis and Oyugis-Rangwe-Rodi Kopany roads,” said Awiti.
He added: “I have been making pleas over these two roads but I will now use the President’s visit to personally discuss them with him, besides other development programmes.”