The arrests and detention without trial of William Ruto’s political lieutenants Kisii deputy governor Joash Maangi and South Mugirango MP Sylvanus Osoro has been received with mixed reactions.
Governor James Ongwae is leading the Building Bridges Initiative campaigns in the region. In his camp are Senator Sam Ongeri and women representative Janet Ong’era. The two were humiliated by Interior cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i during the funeral of retired politician Simeon Nyachae at the Gusii stadium by not being allowed to address the mourners. Ruto enjoys the support of two emerging camps one led by Maangi and the other one led by Nyachae’s son Charles Ayacko and former Kenya Ports Authority managing director Daniel Manduku who has formed his political party- the Party of Economic Development.
Although Nyachae’s family had programmed the funeral to be a private function and to be conducted at the Nyanturago stadium in Nyaribari Chache constituency before the venue was later changed to the Gusii stadium after State House confirmed that the president was to be in attendance, the manner the ceremony was conducted has left many questions which need answers from Matiang’i who was the master of ceremony. Matiang’i has also been accused of misleading Uhuru Kenyatta to suggest the renaming of Gusii stadium before local leaders are consulted and public participation done for the same to taken to the county assembly for discussion and approval.
The CS who had been endorsed by elected leaders from Kisii and Nyamira counties as the spokesman of the community under the so-called Abagusii development council of elders, ensured that Maangi and Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati who had been endorsed earlier in two different functions for the same position did not make it near the function which was attended by Uhuru, his deputy, Raila Odinga among others.
Maangi, Osoro and former Kisii county ODM chairman Samwel Omwando had been arrested earlier and released in the evening without charges being preferred against them while Arati remained holed up in unknown destination only to emerge immediately after the funeral service where he started distributing T-shirts and caps donned in his campaign material. Security chiefs were accused of allowing Arati to distribute the T-Shirts and caps around the streets of Kisii central business district when the government had warned that the day was not meant for politics.
Although he gave a lame excuse of the rush of the programme so that the president can attend another funeral of Garissa senator Yussuf Haji who died the same day, observers wondered loudly as to why he could humiliate Senator Ongeri and the county executives of Nyamira led by Governor Amos Nyaribo who were to lobby MPs and MCAs approve him as the regional spokesman as had been planned earlier. Political pundits aver that Matiang’i erred in giving in to instructions from Nyachae’s eldest son Charles Ayacko who is Governor’s Ongwae’s critic and supporting Nyaribari Masaba MP Ezekiel Machogu of the hustler movement for the gubernatorial seat at the expense of Ongeri also gunning for the same seat.
Matiang’i’s political future hangs in the balance given that some of those who have been pressing him to go for the presidency come the 2022 general elections have started feeling the heat neglect and rejection due to his failure to consult widely before making major decisions which have got far reaching side effects. Charles Nyachae has got his own political setbacks given that he has not shared with leaders from his own Nyaribari clan led by former MPs Robert Monda, Chris Bichage, Elijah Moindi and former Kisii mayor Clare Omanga on the way forward for the area, economically, socially and politically.
The former Constitution Implementation Commission chairman is yet to come to terms with the clan which has also endorsed land economist Rachael Otundo for the gubernatorial seat come next year because he surprised them politically when they had fully supported him for the same seat in 2017 but changed to the senate seat which he lost. The death of Bonchari MP Oroo Oyioka, who was elected on a PDP ticket associated with former South Mugirango MP Omingo Magara, a close ally of the deputy president has also sent Matiang’i and to some extent the security chiefs in the region back to the drawing board on how to control the situation during the burial of the former legislator.