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Handshake magic lures thousands to national holiday

By Saturday Standard Team | June 2nd 2018
Kisumu governor Anyang' Nyongo join Chipukizy dancers in a dance during Madraka day celebrations at Jomo Kenyatta sports ground Kisumu on June 1st 2018. (Collins Oduor,Standard)

Hundreds of Nyanza residents packed stadia in the region's six counties to celebrate this year's Madaraka Day in a stark contrast to last year's event boycotted by locals.

Leaders attributed Friday's good turn-out to the 'handshake' between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Last year, County Commissioners addressed empty fields after residents led by their governors boycotted the events to protest against the Jubilee Government.

Friday's celebrations in Siaya, Kisumu, Migori, Homa Bay, Kisii and Nyamira counties were dominated by speeches on the handshake, corruption and the fight against illicit brews.

Kisii Women Representative Janet Ongera joins Itibo primary pupils in a Gusii traditional dance at Itierio play ground Bonchari Kisii County on 1/6/2018 during Madaraka day celebrations. (Sammy Omingo/standard)

Graft war

In Siaya, Governor Cornell Rasanga and County Commissioner Jacob Narengo led the celebrations at the Kenya Medical Training Centre grounds where they hailed the handshake.

Alego Usonga MP Samel Atandi also attended the function. The leaders welcomed the on-going purge against corruption, saying it should be replicated at the county levels.

In Kisumu, Governor Anyang' Nyongo, County Commissioner Pauline Dola, Kisumu Senator Fred Outa, MPs James Nyikal (Seme) and Aduma Owuor (Nyakach) addressed the well-attended Madaraka Day at the Jomo Kenyatta Sports Grounds.

The leaders said the huge crowd at the grounds was a result of the prevailing peace in the country.

"The peace we are witnessing today is a result of the handshake and we must thank President Kenyatta and (NASA leader) Raila for this. Last year, no one attended the Madaraka Day because of political tensions. Today, the story is different," said Mr Nyikal.

The leaders praised the truce between Uhuru and Raila and announced that the President will visit Nyanza soon.

"We fully support the handshake. Our country is healing. Kisumu, where a lot of bloodshed was witnessed, is also healing and this is why we will not allow anyone to sabotage the handshake," said Mr Outa.

Prof Nyong'o said the truce between President Kenyatta and Raila had strengthened the relationship between the national and county governments.

Kisii governor James Ongwae joins Itierio girls High school students in a Kisii folk song at Itierio playground on 1/06/2018 during Madaraka Day celebrations (Sammy Omingo/standard)

In Homa Bay, Governor Cyprian Awiti and County Commissioner Irungu Macharia addressed a big crowd at the Kendu Bay Show ground where they declared war on illicit brews and drugs.  Mr Awiti praised President Kenyatta and Raila for efforts to end political tension in the country.

At the Migori Sports Ground where government officials found themselves alone during last year's Madaraka Day celebrations, residents turned out in their thousands to listen to the President's speech.  

Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi(left) with County Commissioner Magu Mutindika leaves the Commissiners office in Kilifi town on Friday,June,1 after a breakfast meeting to the Madaraka day celebrations at Karisa Maitha grouds .For the first time the two vowed to work together[Maureen Ongala,Standard]

Border row

Governor Obado did not attend the function and was represented by the Suna East Sub-County Administrator Kennedy Adongo. The President's speech was read by County Commissioner Joseph Irungu.

The celebrations were also well attended in Nyamira and Kisii counties where governors James Ongwae and John Nyangarama addressed huge crowds in their respective headquarters.

The border row between Kisumu and Nandi dominated the speeches in the lakeside town, with leaders saying they will not cede even an inch to the neighbouring county.

MPs Owuor and Nyikal and Kisumu County Assembly Majority Leader Ken Onyango told Nandi leaders pushing for a boundary review to be prepared for a long drawn row.

Nandi leaders are preparing a petition to the National Land Commission (NLC) over the boundaries.

"We know the boundaries and the petition they have prepared is null and void," said Nyikal.

The Standard reported last week that a group of Nandi leaders have laid claim to key towns on the Kisumu side of the border. These include Kibos, Miwani, Muhoroni, Kopere, Songhor and Chemelil.

[John Oywa, James Omoro and Eric Abuga]

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