Legal battle looms in leadership of Luo Council of Elders

Chairman of Luo Council of Elders Nyandiko Ongadi (in brown coat, carrying a fly whisk) and officials of his faction were addressing journalists at Alaw Rachuonyo Grounds in Kendu Bay town. [James Omoro, Standard]

Wrangles in leadership of the Luo Council of Elders are expected to end up in court after a section of the council planned to challenge an election being planned to elect another chairman of the council.

 Azimio Leader Raila Odinga last month announced that Luo elders will elect a new chairman of the council this month, following the death of former chairman Opiyo Otondi in February this year. The newly elected chairman may be unveiled at the beginning of next month.

Leadership of the Luo council of Elders has been in two factions, one led by Ongadi and another one led by Otondi.

But a legal battle is now looming after a faction of the Luo Council of Elders led by their chairman Nyandiko Ongadi have threatened to sue their fellow elders if they attempt to conduct the election.

 Speaking during an annual general meeting of the Luo Council of Elders held in Alaw Rachuonyo hall in Kendu Bay town, the elders said Ongadi is the legitimate chairman of the council. They said Ongadi is the validly elected chairman of the Luo Council of Elders.

 Ongadi said he is the one who owns the official registration documents from the Registrar of Societies. He demonstrated the registration certificate to journalists and residents.

 He added that he is also the one who has been submitting returns of the Council since his election in 2015.

 Ongadi warned that anybody who attempts to conduct any election for the council leadership must be prepared for a legal duel.

 "I have evidence to convince anybody beyond reasonable doubt that I am the chairman of the Luo Council of Elders. Anybody who attempts to conduct any election must be prepared to meet us in court. I am not a coward," Ongadi said.

 Ongadi came to the seat by succeeding former chairman Riaga Ogalo who died in 2015.

 He argued that Ogalo was reinstated by Kisii court after his attempted ouster by Otondi who was the then vice chairman of the council.

 Both Ongadi and Otondi held parallel offices of the Luo council of Elders.

  "The Luo Council of Elders is a single entity whose registration documents cannot be owned by two chairmen. I am the custodian of the documents," Ongadi said.

 Chairman of Trustees in the Council Ariko Adoyo said the Luo Council of Elders is a cultural organization which should not have a patron.

 "How does someone claim that he is a patron of the council? This is a cultural organization and we don't have any patron," said Adoyo.

 The Council Secretary General Silus Olala warned politicians against interfering with affairs of the council. 

Olala told his fellow elders to stand firm against any politician who wants to divide the elders.

"There are some politicians who keep interfering with the affairs of the Luo Council of Elders.

As elders, we have the right to tell them to keep off. Let us not fear them," Olala.

The Council Assistant Secretary Okinyi Rawo argued that anybody who interferes with Ongadi’s leadership does not respect the Luo community.

“Ongadi is our cultural king and anybody who attempts to interfere with his leadership disrespects the Luo community,” Rawo said.