Leaders condemn teargas incident at Owalo's meeting

A teargas canister. [File, Standard]

Nyanza leaders have condemned an incident where a teargas canister was lobbed at a function that was organised by ICT and Digital Economy CS Eliud Owalo.

The canister that is suspected to have been thrown by the youths, was lobbed an hour before Owalo arrived at the hotel where the meeting was being held in Rangwe Sub County.

The unexpected incident occurred when a number of leaders including Parastatals chairpersons Odoyo Owidi, Omondi Anyanga, Jack Ranguma, Martin Ogindo and Charles Owino arrived at the meeting venue.

The meeting was meant to empower women and brought together more than 500 women group representatives who were being sensitized on financial empowerment on Saturday, October 21.

The women and the leaders stayed were at the venue for more than two hours when someone suddenly lobbed the teargas into the gathering.

The teargas was thrown by someone who was hiding behind the fence outside the hotel compound.

Upon lobbing the teargas, other youths who accompanied him also hurled stones at the gathering forcing the women, leaders and journalists who were at the scene to scamper for their safety.

The incident forced the leaders to halt speeches to avoid looming injuries.

Attendees from the meeting got hold of one of the suspects who was roughed up befire he was handed over to the police, who also confiscated five motorcycles.

When CS Owalo arrived, the function went on well with Owidi, Anyanga, Ogindo, Owino, Ranguma and Rangwe politician Omburo Odaje condemning the attack.

They accused some ODM leaders of being behind the violence.

"I tell them to know that this county belongs to all over us. They must stop violence to ensure the people get development but let them know we cannot be intimidated by anybody," Owidi said.

Anyanga accused political leaders who hired the goons of being against the development of the people.

"The time has come when we should stop the mentality of making the people poor in order to lead them. Why do yo want to injure women who are here in order to get funds for development?" he posed.

In delivering his speech, Owalo said this is the time people should concentrate on development.

He said the women empowerment programme is aimed at fighting poverty in Homa Bay County.

Owalo said the programme is aimed at giving women information on sources of funds which the government had established for empowering them saying such financial avenues include the Uwezo Fund, Women Enterprise Fund, and Hustler Fund among others.

"The government has various avenues from which women can acquire funds for doing business but they are now aware. That is the reason we brought the women here to educate them on financial opportunities the government has created for them," Owalo said.

"Let us focus on development to improve our livelihood as the people of Nyanza region," he added.

He said his ministry had put plans to establish digital laboratories in every ward to enable youths to do online jobs.