Kisumu County disputes cloud ODM meet

Kisumu County ODM delegates follow proceedings during the party's annual conference yesterday in Kisumu. [Collins Oduor, Standard]
Leadership wrangles in Kisumu County yesterday dominated the second Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) County Delegates Conference.

Elected leaders and delegates who addressed the forum were in agreement that the wrangles are giving the county a bad name.

The disagreements which have emerged between the county Assembly and the Executive that is led by Governor Anyang Nyong’o, are centred around the 2019-20 financial year budget.

The Assembly has rejected the budget claiming that it did not meet the requirements needed. The stalemate has left the county financially strapped. 

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On top of the budget row, the MCAs are in the process of impeaching Finance Executive Nerry Achar. They accuse Mr Achar of misconduct and blame him for dwindling revenues.

They also claim that Achar lacks relevant academic qualifications to head the docket.

Yesterday’s forum revealed how deep the wrangles between the two arms of the county government run.

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Each faction struggled to paint the other in bad light, while defending its position, an indication that if the impasse continues, then the county’s development plans will suffer.

Some of the projects in the pipeline are the revamping of Kisumu Port, the establishment of an economic zone in Muhoroni, and the planned extension of the Standard Gauge Railway from Naivasha to Kisumu.

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The county is also preparing to host the 2021 Africities Conference.

Deputy Governor Mathews Owili called for a truce saying leaders from both sides should look at the bigger picture; development projects that are at a risk of stalling.

“Let us tone down the squabbles. This is the time we need to unite. Let us emulate the example of the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga,” said Dr Owili.

His sentiments were echoed by Nyando MP Jared Okelo who asked the two arms of the county government to seek help from ODM party in settling their disagreements.

 “Kisumu is an ODM county and any failures here will be attributed to the party,” said Mr Okelo.

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ODM Executive Director Oduor Ong’wen said MCAs have the responsibility of ensuring that the county government succeeds by supporting the executive.

Mr Ong’wen said ODM, through its various structures, has tried to intervene in helping solve the county wrangles.

“Oversight doesn’t mean putting roadblocks on the way of the Executive. Currently ODM is controlling 16 of the 47 county governments. If any of them fail, then that means the party has failed,” Ong’wen said.

Kisumu Assembly Speaker Onyango Oloo defended the Assembly saying MCAs were only doing their work according to the law.

“The oversight role always brings friction. You will have to bear with us. Differing opinions does not mean enmity,” Mr Oloo said.

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He averred that in helping fulfill ODM’s manifesto, the assembly must tame those who pull on the opposite direction.

Majority Leader Ken Onyango dismissed the wrangles as ‘normal misunderstanding’.

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Kisumu CountyAnyang Nyong’oODM