A bitter rivalry between Homa Bay county finance minister Nicholas Koriko and county secretary Isaiah Ogwe is turning nasty. Recently, a local contractor died in a mysterious way in what is said to be Governor Cyprian Awiti’s succession war, involving members of his kitchen cabinet.
The two officers enjoying powerful positions were good friends until they separately expressed interest in succeeding outgoing Awiti who is two terms in the office proved to be shrouded by corruption allegations. Sources told Weekly Citizen that the contractor in question was subjected to a series of frustrations prior to the nature of his death which is now the talk of the town. Those in the know claim that the deceased identified as Opany Deklan had fallen out with Ogwe who subsequently ensured that procurement technicalities were put in place to frustrate his payments, as revenge. Trouble started when Opany shifted his allegiance to Koriko, leaving Ogwe a stranded man ahead of the fast-approaching 2022 general election.
According to inside sources, this was immediately followed by calculated moves that delayed his payment something that put him at loggerheads with his financial lenders and workers. On the material day, Opany had received a payment voucher of a paltry Sh2 million out of the speculated Sh20 million he was expecting from the county government. Despite the fact that this did not tally with his expectations, sources further alleged that Opany went to the bank in a view of processing the Sh2 million voucher only to discover that it was equally a dummy or rather a piece of paper as there was nothing in his account. It is said that the ugly experience at the banking hall made Opany to instantly develop high blood pressure before he died hours later.
By the time of his death, a totally frustrated Opany had abandoned his official car and had resorted to the use of motorbikes in his many attempts to evade auctioneers and other debtors on his neck over money. Koriko confirmed the death of Opany whom he described as his friend but was quick to point that it should not be pegged to anything political “Yes it’s true that Opany is dead but all those theories surrounding his death are just the work of rumour-mongers,” he posed. He downplayed reports that he is in the race to succeed Awiti adding that there is no single day he had made such declaration. Koriko and Ogwe have an academic history in India and both landed lucrative positions at the county government of Homa Bay courtesy of Governor Awiti.
They operated harmoniously until there were signs that Ogwe was proving to be powerful and stamped his authority on all the departments under the watch of the governor. But Ogwe infiltrated a number of dockets including the finance department headed by Koriko. It has emerged that in nearly all the 11 departments, Ogwe installed his men in key positions. Those privy to his operations describe him as a man with well-spread tentacles and the helpless governor has not been able to control him as he calls shots in matters business. It is said that across the 11 departments, Ogwe grabbed key positions including those of chief officers, directors, accountants and auditors and rewarded people believed to be his friends and relatives. But on the political front, pundits point out that Koriko has managed to outshine Ogwe through a well-calculated scheme that has seen him deserted by top opinion leaders across the county.
Ogwe was irked when Koriko outsmarted him at his own Kanyada clan backyard. Apart from the deceased, other notable faces from Kanyada who have parted ways with Ogwe are Jerry Ndong, father to the celebrated TV journalist Bernard Ndong, among others. Details have emerged that Ogwe has been a bitter man since it dawned on him that the voters of Kanyada did not fully welcome his candidature. This is on the argument that he is an outsider with roots in Agoro clan, which originates from Ngiya in Siaya county, all the way to Nyakach in Kisumu county. On the other hand, associates of Koriko from his Karachuonyo backyard had warned him against engaging Ogwe on his political operations if in any case he needed their support. This reportedly prompted Koriko to tactfully delink himself from Ogwe, a move that sparked off the currently bad blood between the two leaders. The situation is said to be so grave that all contractors seen to be leaning towards Koriko are being viewed as to undergo instructions from Ogwe, a man whose powers supposedly surpass those of the governor.