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Rivalry deepens as locals condemnKisumu Governor Jack Ranguma aide remarks

By Rushdie Oudia | January 27th 2015

 The rivalry between Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma and his deputy Ruth Odinga continued to play out after the latter claimed remarks made by the county chief's aide were directed at her.

Ms Odinga said it was unfortunate people close to Ranguma could make reckless statements that sought to divide Kisumu residents.

Last Sunday morning, one of Ranguma's aides, John Odidi, stormed a media briefing at Jomo Kenyatta Sports Ground called by civil society groups to demand a public forum with county officials to iron out various issues affecting the devolved unit.

Mr Odidi claimed the groups were being used by Ranguma's opponents to undermine the county government and threatened to beat up Siaya residents or forcefully evict them from Kisumu, a statement that irked the deputy governor.

"Why would it be that somebody like me from Siaya is being told that I should go to back to where I belong because I'm spoiling Kisumu County?" posed Ms Odinga.

She said she would stay put and ensure everything in Kisumu runs smoothly.


Speaking in Seme sub-County, Ms Odinga said people were bitter with her because of her opposition to the planned four-day retreat that the governor had planned for over 80 county staff that would cost taxpayers over Sh5 million.

"Why must be the name of Siaya be invoked. Is it because I'm the only executive from Siaya who is in the County Government of Kisumu?" posed Ms Odinga.

The civil society groups were Kisumu City Residents' Voice Association, National Youth Council, Inter-Party Liason, Kisumu Youth Caucus, Civil Society Organisations Network, Integrated IDPS and representatives from the informal sector.

Earlier, the groups led by Audi Ogada, had written to the governor inviting him to a meeting on February 5 at the same venue to respond to development issues.

They demanded that the forum be attended by the County Executive led by the governor, County Assembly, City Management and Public Service Board.

Among the issues they wanted tackled were a detailed financial report of the 2013/2014 fiscal year and the Kisumu Urban Project.

They also wanted to know the general performance of the county administration for the period under review.

The lobbyists also wanted massive graft, irregular appointments, nepotism and persistent wrangles amongst leaders and poor service delivery addressed.

Meanwhile, Kisumu dwellers have expressed anger at Odidi's remarks.

Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya Nyanza Branch Chairman Hesbone Omollo said public resources must be used prudently.

But he castigated Odidi's utterances, saying abuse of office was not by any community or clan but by specific individuals and should never be treated as a clan thing.

"I work here and employ people here. I have investments here and my children go to school here in Kisumu.

"It won't be today that someone will try to intimidate me by my ancestry. I want to be intimidated by service delivery," said Omollo.

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