Friends turn fierce foes in local politics

Kisumu Governor Anyang' Nyong'o with Senator Fred Outa. [COLLINS ODUOR, STANDARD]
Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o and Senator Fred Outa are headed for a face-off after a bitter political divorce.

The once political friends do not see eye-to-eye, and Outa is warning of ‘dire consequences’ over claims that he is being kept off a ‘cake he participated in baking’.

The sacking of Nyong’o’s Chief of Staff Patrick Ouya, a close ally of Outa, seems to have opened the lid on the deep political differences between the two.

Nyong’o, last Tuesday, sacked the officer in what he termed as Ouya’s ‘gross misconduct unbefitting a public officer’, moments after he accused the officer of threatening to shoot him.

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“I have today terminated your appointment with effect from June 12, 2018 due to gross misconduct unbefitting a public officer and contrary to Article 75 of the Constitution and Article 40 of the County Government Act,” read Nyong’o’s letter to Ouya.

And yesterday, Outa termed Nyong’o’s move as dictatorial, accusing the governor of betraying the course they had for the county.

Ahead of August 2017 General Election, Nyong’o and Outa came together under a campaign outfit called ‘Team Kali’ (strong team). Ouya actively participated in the activities of the team, including serving as campaign manager.

The team went on to topple the then incumbent Jack Ranguma who contested their win, terming it stolen.

The Court of Appeal will today rule on the case in which Ranguma is contesting Nyong’o’s win.

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Sources say Nyong’o and Outa had unwritten agreement to share county positions on a 50-50 basis, something which seems to have not been respected.

“Everybody in Kisumu know that Nyong’o and I formed ‘Team Kali’ which delivered the victory. And we will not be party to the adage where people use others to ascend to power and then betray them,” said Outa.

The difference between Nyong’o and Outa begun simmering late last year when Nyong’o flew out for a two-month medical trip in the US. Nyong’o’s deputy Mathews Owili ran the government during the period.

But Outa and Assembly Speaker Onyango Oloo led a campaign against Mr Owili, accusing him of overseeing corruption in a ‘government he knew nothing about its formation’.

But word went round that the duo were positioning themselves to take over the county leadership.

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Nyong’o in a scathing article tore the people he described as ‘friends who were wishing him death’. He did not mention the people he accused of wishing him death.

Outa has since been silent over the issues in the county government, but vows to do his part as the county watchdog to prevent any malgovernance in the county.

“There is a report I’m working on over the financial and administrative issues within the county. I will be releasing it in August and it will give my position about the county government. For now I want to keep off and it is upon Nyong’o to do what he wishes with his powers,” said Outa.

Nyong’o, through his head of Press Unit Alloyce Ager, however, downplayed any division, saying each of the leaders have their mandates as provided for in the law.

“Mr Ouya’s sacking is an administrative matter which lies squarely in the purview of the governor. The governor is the head of the county government and is accountable to all the administrative and financial undertakings,” said Mr Ager.

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Ager said ‘Team Kali’ was a campaign unit with two fronts; the national and the county government vision. He said after the victory, Outa was expected to work for the county at the national level (in the Senate) while Nyong’o to work at the county.

Personal friends

He said Outa has the platform at the Senate to summon and interrogate the governor, or as engage him personally “since they are personal friends”.

“Any misunderstanding has nothing to do with the governor. The governor is working on a structure for consultation which will bring together the people of Kisumu,” added Ager.

anyang nyongokisumu countybitter political divorceSenator Fred Outa