Ministers raise the alarm over rising hostility in Nyanza
Information Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and his Tourism counterpart Phylis Kandie have expressed fears over violent resistance that recently greeted state officials in the opposition backyard.
The growing resistance, they said on Sunday, was affecting service delivery.
They cited the Migori incident, where shoes were thrown at President Uhuru Kenyatta’s dais in September last year during the launch of an anti-malaria campaign co-sponsored by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The attackers, according to Dr Matiang’i and Ms Kandie, barred WHO officials from addressing residents, endangering foreign relations.
Early this year, some mourners hurled insults and jeered Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo and her Lands counterpart Charity Ngilu during the burial of Fidel Odinga, son of Cord leader Raila Odinga, in Bondo, Siaya County.
Dr Matiang’i asked Nyanza leaders to lead their followers towards peaceful resolution of Jubilee-Cord political differences.
“As leaders, we have the responsibility to build our communities. Let us have the courage to solve our differences in a better way,” he said during the opening of a new hotel in Kisumu Town.
He said President Kenyatta had instructed all government officials to serve all regions of the country regardless of their political affiliation but the hostility in Nyanza was scaring them.
Ms Kandie said a stable political environment was necessary to attract investments, especially in western Kenya, and urged locals to maintain peace.
“We are committed to promoting investment in this country; let each of us come up with diverse ways of benefiting from growth prospects in western Kenya as well as across the country,” she said.
Kisumu leaders who attended the launch pledged to rally their supporters towards peaceful co-existence.
Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma and MPs Shakeel Shabbir (Kisumu East) and Aduma Owuor (Nyakach) gave their commitment to tame the perceived hostility.
Mr Shabbir told the ministers not to fear traveling to Kisumu, saying they will be “pelted with love”.
“Do not hold in your heart what has happened in this region in the recent past; it is not a tradition of Luos to fight leaders,” said Mr Shabbir.
Mr Owuor asked the ministers to remind President Kenyatta that the region is eagerly awaiting his tour of development projects in Kisumu.
“The President is welcome here. There are several projects that he needs to start,” he said.
The governor asked the Cabinet secretaries to help the region push for the revival of lake transport for the realisation of the East Africa Community strategic partnerships.
“We want your support as the national government to bring in investment on our idle Kenyan inland water ports,” said Mr Ranguma.
Most leaders from western Kenya, including Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba, Kisumu Deputy Governor Ruth Odinga and Mrs Ida Odinga, wife of Cord leader Raila Odinga, have apologised to the government over the hostile reception state officials faced recently.