Arati's wife helping to cool political temperature in Kisii

 Kisii Governor Simba Arati and his wife 'Kwamboka.' [Edwin Nyarangi, Standard]

Is Mei Kwamboka the panacea to the long-standing political standoff between her husband Governor Simba Arati and his political nemesis Silvanus Osoro?

Mei, a Chinese nicknamed Kwamboka due to her mastery of Ekegusii, has literally gate-crashed into three major meetings organised by the South Mugirango MP and other known critics of the Kisii governor with ease, taking many by surprise.

The presence of her husband and Osoro at the same function causes tension, at times forcing police to intervene to restore order.

Recently, chaos erupted at a function in South Mugirango, Osoro’s constituency, as supporters of the two youthful Kisii leaders clashed, leaving scores injured. 

A few days later, their supporters met again at a funeral and clashed, leaving the car of Kisii Woman Representative Doris Aburi damaged. 

The ugly incidents forced respected Kisii elders to summon the duo to a reconciliation meeting which flopped.  

The Osoro camp has been accusing Arati of being a let-down to Kisii County but the governor accuses the Osoro camp of deliberately sabotaging his endeavours to serve the people.

But while the Osoro and Arati camps don’t see eye to eye, to many people’s surprise, Mei has been attending functions organised by the anti-Arati team. Her presence there has had a calming effect as she talks about the need for the two sides to think about the people before their parties and personal interests. 

In one of the functions attended by Osoro, she said: “I am Mei Arati. Wife to your Governor Simba Arati. Governor and I were headed to Nairobi but on our way, I saw huge tents and I told the governor, your people are meeting here at Bobaracho in Nyaribari Chache. I told him I just wanted to attend and join him later in Nairobi and that’s why I am here to support whatever you are doing.”

She went on: I am not a politician. My husband is. You belong to parties but I don’t. All I want is us to join hands and serve our people.”

And she told Osoro: “I know you and my husband are not good friends, but I am ready to attend all functions you will organise and you should feel free to invite me.”

She repeats the same appeal whenever she meets the anti-Arati team, a message that’s seems to resonate well with her audiences.  

Out of respect, none of the known Arati critics criticises her speeches and her unexpected presence during their functions. 

Osoro always says, “You know, I am a man and if I have anything to say, I will only talk to a fellow man (read Arati).”

Mei’s bold moves have now left many talking about her growing influence in Kisii leadership under Arati. 

Osoro and his brigade have been accusing Arati of letting his wife run the county but Mei defends herself saying, “my role is to help the governor to serve his people. Nothing else.”

To Kisii residents, Mei is on a welcome mission which has so far calmed political tensions that were threatening to get out of hand in Gusiiland. 

While most governors’ wives are taking a low profile, Mei is the talk of the town due to her bold interventions. But will her efforts help to end the antagonism between her husband and Osoro? Only time will tell.