Wait for 2017, Kisii County leaders tell CIC boss Charles Nyachae
| Aug 3rd 2014 | 4 min read
Kenya: Constitution Implementation Commission (CIC) chairman Charles Nyachae’s public activities in his native Kisii County are raising eyebrows.
Local leaders have interpreted Nyachae’s moves to mean he is eyeing elective politics.
Nyachae, who is facing criticism from some Kisii County leaders for reportedly engaging in early campaigns for the post of Governor, has come out more than five times to deny nursing political ambitions.
In the past few months, Nyachae has traversed Kisii County, taking part in fundraisers and attending church services while in the company of politicians. Critics say the CIC chairman’s diary is almost predictable, as he spends weekends in the county engaging in events.
Although he has yet to publicly declare interest in the Kisii Governor’s seat, Nyachae’s activities have continued to draw mixed opinions, with critics accusing him of using his cronies to undermine Governor James Ongwae’s administration.
In most of the public functions he attends, supporters publicly refer to him as ‘Mr Governor’, but the first born son to former powerful Cabinet minister Simeon Nyachae has refuted the claims, saying he respects Ongwae.
Again, Nyachae has appeared to team up with Jubilee politicians, with the most recent pronouncements being made last weekend, where he criticised CORD’s push for a referendum.
Last weekend, four members of the Kisii County Assembly asked him to tone down on his political activity and allow the county government to deliver on its mandate. Speaking at Isecha PAG Church in Kitutu Chache North during a fundraiser, the MCAs asked Nyachae, who was the chief guest, to allow the county government time to deliver.
The MCAs, who included Samson Apoko (Kiogoro), Henry Mariita (Kerogi), Charles Onchonga (Monyerero) and Onchonga Nyagaka (Sensi) said the County Assembly was firmly behind Governor Ongwae and his administration.
“Leaders are elected with God’s blessings and once the election is over, give them time to deliver on their mandate. You cannot hand over the baton before finishing the race. We respect you Charles Nyachae but if you are attending fundraisers to undermine the county government, please stop,” said Apoko.
Nyachae denied undermining the county government, saying attending fundraisers should not be construed to mean he was campaigning for the post of Governor. “I came here to help build the church. I didn’t come for any other reason. I am not mad to come here to seek votes ahead of 2017,” he said.
“In the whole of Gusii region, I was present at Gusii Stadium in March last year when Governor Ongwae and his deputy were sworn in. We can’t elect leaders and disrespect them yet we gave them the mandate. I have not moved from this position,” said Nyachae.
He challenged elected leaders to deliver on the promises they made to the people on which basis they will be judged by wananchi in the next polls.
“Any leader who wants our support should know we are ready. He is my Governor and I respect him first because he is senior and also because I want the best for the people of Kisii County. Let us not destroy Kisii with propaganda. I have never undermined the county government and anyone with evidence should table it,” he said.
In the recent Bonchari by-election, Nyachae openly clashed with Nominated Senator Janet Ongera, who accused him of campaigning for Ford-People candidate Zebedeo Opore, who went on to win the poll. Nyachae reacted angrily to the claims and threatened to sue Ong’era.
He gave the clearest indication that he would vie for the seat of governor early this year during a function at Nyamagwa in Bobasi constituency while reacting to rumours that he planned to oust Ongwae in 2017.
“I have never told anyone that I will vie for the seat of governor so unless you are able to read my mind, that is a lie. However, if I choose to run for any seat on offer, be it that of clan elder or governor, it will be within my constitutional right,” said Nyachae.
At the national level, Nyachae has attracted criticism, with Bungoma Senator and CORD co-principal Moses Wetang’ula accusing him of abdicating his responsibilities as defined in Schedule Six of the Constitution. He accused Nyachae of playing partisan politics.
“The holder of the office of the chairman of the CIC and indeed all the commissioners are expected to be impartial and fair in the discharge of their duties. What we are witnessing are frustrations in the implementation of the constitutional process. In fact, it looks like a well calculated and thought out conspiracy by anti-change agents and forces of impunity whose midwife is with no doubt the CIC,” Wetang’ula wrote in an Opinion piece published in The Standard on Friday.
Ongwae has come out openly to dare his political opponents, challenging them to wait for 2017 and face a real duel.
“I was elected by an overwhelming majority of Kisii County residents who gave me the mandate to work for them. There is no vacuum in this seat but I know there are many out there who admire it. Let them wait for 2017 when we shall know who the real Ongwae is because I am no push-over,” said Ongwae during the launch of solar power street lights in Kisii Town.
Politicians in his ranks are Abaga Sagero who unsuccessfully vied for the South Mugirango parliamentary seat, PDP chairman Stephen Nyarangi, former councilor Steve Arika and Charles Mochama, who was runner’s up in the Nyamira County gubernatorial race, among others.
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