Residents fail to present wish list as President ends tour marked with pomp

Kisumu and Bondo came to a standstill as President Uhuru Kenyatta embarked on the second day of his Nyanza tour on Friday.

The President spent the night at the Kisumu State Lodge which has remained disused for more than five years. His presence at the facility rekindled the Kanu years when former President Moi frequented it.

Former President Kibaki visited the facility once during his 10-year rule but did not spend a night there.

On Thursday night, the State lodge was a beehive of activity amid tight security as President Kenyatta met local leaders. Friday morning, he met more leaders and key government and security officials before leaving for Bondo at around 10am.

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Residents lined up along the Oginga Odinga Street and Obote Road as the President’s motorcade sped towards the Kisumu International Airport where he boarded a Kenya Airforce chopper to Raila’s Opoda farm in Bondo.

Two choppers carrying the Head of State and his team touched down at Opoda Farm at 10:30am where he was received by the Opposition leader, Eala MP Oburu Oginga, Nyanza MPs, governors and senators.

At the farm, Raila and his wife Ida received the President who drove in a lean motorcade.

Sources at Opoda told the Saturday Standard that Ida and caterers prepared a sumptuous traditional breakfast that included porridge and yams besides the normal English breakfast.

The leaders chatted over breakfast and hearty laughter could be heard from the house. Raila and his state guests then drove to the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science to attend the graduation ceremony.

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Greetings from public

President Kenyatta rolled down the window to acknowledge greetings from the crowd. Shouts of ‘Uhuru! Uhuru!, Ma e en” (This is him) rent the air as the President’s motorcade sneaked into the university.

As the convoy disappeared into the university gates, the cheers turned into grumbles as residents protested the failure by the leaders to address them.

“This is a joke. How can we line up here since 8am then they just pass without greeting us? I wanted  so see Uhuru face to face,” protested a youth.

At the graduation grounds, the two leaders all robbed in green gowns stepped forward to be conferred with the honorary degrees by chancellor Vimal Shah.

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It was President Kenyatta who was first awarded with the honorary degree first after one of the lecturer’s read out his chequered curriculum vitae from his primary school days to his university Education up to his political journey. Next was Raila, whose two page resume enumerated his education in Kenya and Germany and struggle for multiparty democracy that saw him detained twice.

The leaders unveiled the plague for the newly built Science laboratory complex.

The university Vice Chancellor Stephen Agong’ said this was the first time they were honouring the country’s top leaders since the institution was awarded a charter in 2013. In his speech, the President announced that the university will get Sh1 billion to fund for construction of a manufacturing and engineering laboratory.

Even though the crowd had braced the scorching sun to see the President visiting the town for the first time, an opportunity to present their wish list never came.

Among the issue the residents, especially the fishermen, wanted Uhuru to address was the Lake Victoria boundary dispute.

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They also hoped that the President would commission the construction of the Bondo-Nango road.

Bondo MP Gideon Ochanda said: “It is true that we had issues that we had wanted the President to address when he comes, but given that there was limited time, he met Nyanza MPs and we agreed on issues the government was going to address,” said Ochanda.   

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President Uhuru KenyattaUhuru in BondoUhuru in Kisumu