Matiang’i tribulations in murky Gusii politics

Matiang’i tribulations in murky Gusii politics


After Interior and National Government Coordination cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i failed to get the nod and support of all elected MPs from Gusii community for the seat of presidency, he has now resorted to individual fishing and seeking the support of former MPs in a bid to have his political dreams and ambitions come true as political succession campaigns and groupings hit the ground.

Charles Nyachae

Matiang’i is the second senior-most Kisii in the government after Chief Justice, David Maraga. Matiang’i is said to have chosen to convert his Harambee House boardroom into a venue where he meets the former area MPs, and other professionals from the community, in a bid to woo them into his side as the election clock ticks nearer to the time of reckoning. Like in the Luhya community, the Kisii the people are always disunited whenever the country goes for the election, save for 1992 when they spoke with one voice under Simeon Nyachae, who was then a presidential candidate. Using the former North Mugirango Borabu MP Joseph Kiangoi to coordinate the former MPs, Matiang’i last week met the former lawmakers for the second time where he went down to his knees begging them not abandon him at this crucial time and hour of need for his quest for the seat of presidency.

Some of the former MPs who were invited through Kiangoi turned up for the meeting while others rejected the invitation arguing that they have no time to waste attending Matiang’i’s meeting, a clear indication that the unity of the Kisii community is still wanting as the country heads to the next polls. Those who turned up for the meeting include former legislators Charles Geni (North Mugirango), Walter Nyambati (Kitutu Masaba), Wilfred Ombui (North Mugirango), Mwacha Okioma (Kitutu Masaba), Zebedeo Opore (Bonchari), Robert Monda (Nyaribari Chache), Catherine Nyamato (West Mugirango), Alice Chae (Kitutu Masaba), Mary Otara (Bonchari), Kennedy Mongare Okongo (West Murango), Justice David Onyancha (West Mugirango), Omingo Magara (South Mugirango) and Joseph Kiangoi (North Mugirango).

Those who rejected the invitation and boycotted the meeting included Timothy Bosire (Kitutu Masaba), James Gesami (West Mugirango), Simion Ogari (Bomachoge), Stephen Manoti (Bobasi) and Chris Obure (Bobasi). During the meeting which lasted less than two hours, Matiang’i said that his first priority is to unite the community before seeking the country’s top seat. However, some of the former lawmakers who attended the meeting said that Matiang’i is himself squarely to blame for the disunity of the community and its leaders, a factor which has complicated his quest for the presidency. One former legislator alluded that Matiang’i was playing divisive politics among Kisii leaders, and that was why it was impossible for him to unite the community and its leaders. Another source stated indicated Matiang’i was also sponsoring candidates for various political seats in the entire Gusii region against other leaders, a factor which has also made his leadership complex, laced with dishonesty and doubted.

Former Nyamira county senator Okongo Mongare who attended the meeting said Matiang’i was the most suitable person to succeed t Uhuru Kenyatta. Mongare who is the chairman of National Liberal Party challenged other party leaders from Kisii community, namely Manson Oyongo Nyamweya (KNC), Omingo Magara (PDP) and Atati Kengere (KSC) to come together and form a coalition with other political parties in a bid to propel Matiang’i’s political agenda nationally. Gesami who is a former assistant minister for health said he boycotted the meeting because Matiang’i personally had not made any effort to call him if in any case, he wanted his support. He said he expected Matiang’i to call a leaders’ meeting so that he can declare his candidature instead of calling piecemeal boardroom meetings using cronies and political sycophants who are not for the unity of the community apart from championing for their own selfish monetary gains.

Gesami who contested for the seat of the governor in the last general election but lost to Governor John Nyagarama said he was not opposed to Matiang’i’s candidature for the seat of the presidency but the manner he was handling his candidature was a matter of concern. Bosire who is the ODM national treasurer confirmed having been invited to the meeting but chose not to attend because of his own personal reasons. After the meeting, Matiang’i gave out Sh1 million which was shared among the 16 former lawmakers who attended the meeting. The sharing nearly degenerated to chaos after Mongare made a proposal that Kiangoi gets the lion’s share by virtue of being the coordinator of the meeting. He got stiff resistance from Opore who argued that even the Sh62,500 each was getting from the one million, it was too little arguing, that he anticipated that each was to going to take home a minimum of Sh100,000. However, not all elected leaders from the Gusii region are opposed to the leadership and candidature of Matiang’i.

Those who have a different opinion and have shown their support for William Ruto for the seat of presidency come the next elections include Joash Nyamoko (North Mugirango), Vincent Kemosi (West Mugirango), Shadrack Mose (Kitutu Masaba), Sylvanus Osoro (South Mugirango), Alpha Miruka (Bomachoge Chache), Innocent Obiri (Bobasi) and Kisii county deputy governor Joash Maangi. The other group of elected leaders who are openly supporting Matiang’i candidature for the top seat include Sam Ongeri (Kisii senator), Okongo Omogeni (Nyamira senator), governors Nyagarama (Nyamira), James Ongwae (Kisii) MPs Richard Tongi (Nyaribari Chache), Ben Momanyi (Borabu), Jerusa Momanyi (Nyamira), Janet Ongera (Kisii), Ezekiel Machogu (Nyaribari Masaba), Richard Onyonka (Kitutu Chache South), Jimmy Angewnyi (Kitutu Chache North) and Prof Zadock Ogutu (Bomachoge Borabu).