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Gusii leaders seek to forge common front

By - | April 5th 2013

By Robert Nyasato

KENYA: Gusii leaders have been meeting in Nairobi to chart the way forward and take care of the community’s interests under the new political dispensation.

The meetings championed by elected leaders are geared towards the ever-elusive unity of purpose among the community.

Borabu MP Ben Momanyi (Wiper Democratic Party) said the leaders — 13 legislators, two Senators, two Women Representatives, two Governors and their deputies — have been meeting irrespective of their political party affiliations on the way forward.

“About 20 of us have been meeting and have resolved to put aside our political party differences for the good of our people,” Mr Momanyi, told The Standard on Thursday.

He said it was important to identify a young leader, as a spokesman of the community, stressing it was time for fresh blood to take up the mantle.

“Most of my colleagues have realised the importance of working as a team away from our political party allegiance. We are still talking with a few who have not changed heart,” Momanyi said.

Since the exit of former Cabinet minister Simeon Nyachae from the political scene in 2007, there have been turf wars between Kisii Senator Chris Obure and Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Ongeri, as to who was the defacto leader of the community.

More popular

But that scenario was partly solved after Mr Obure floored Prof Ongeri to clinch the Senate seat, leaving him the senior-most politician in Gusiiland.

In terms of popularity, however, Kisii Governor James Ongwae emerges top after garnering a commanding 230,000 votes across the nine constituencies coupled with his long standing career in the civil service.

Gusii, which comprises Kisii and Nyamira counties, also boasts of three nominated Senators, East Africa Legislative Assembly member Joseph Kiangoi and two elected county speakers.

Spur unity

Nyachae’s exit has heralded new political leadership in Kisii. However, the electorate is optimistic the new crop of leaders, including Kitutu Masaba MP Timothy Bosire (ODM), Charles Geni (North Mugirango, ODM), Elijah Moindi (Nyaribari Masaba, Narc Kenya) and Chris Bichage (Nyaribari Chache, ODM) will spur unity among the elected leaders and champion the community’s interests with one voice.

Lately, Ongwae has been consolidating and widening his grip on Kisii politics by meeting all stakeholders to spell out his development agenda.

“We are carrying out these meetings so that stakeholders and all get to know what we intend to offer, for them to also present their views,” Ongwae said.

Earlier, the Abagusii Cultural and Development Council under the chairmanship of Araka Matundura installed Ongwae as the highest ranked elder in the community.

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