Wanga, MPs faulted for failing to join Ruto at church service
The absence of elected leaders from President William Ruto’s tour of Homa Bay last weekend has been criticised by some residents.
Ruto was in the county on Sunday to attend a service at Africa Inland Church (AIC) in Homa Bay town. He also conducted a funds-drive to aid the construction of the church.
It was the president’s first visit to Nyanza region since his election in August.
All the elected leaders in the county, including Governor Gladys Wanga, her deputy Oyugi Magwanga and Senator Moses Kajwang’, snubbed the event.
Eight MPs, the Woman Rep, 40 elected MCAs and 14 nominated were also absent at the service.
Wanga has defended her absence, saying she was in Mombasa on official trip.
“I wish to extend a warm welcome to the President on behalf of the great people of Homa Bay and request him to feel at home. I am, however, out of the county on official duty and will, therefore, be unable to join HE for the church service and have communicated the same to him,” she said.
The Governor maintained that she did not boycott the meeting.
“I would have attended the meeting but I got the invitation late. I have no problem with the President,” she added.
Yesterday, Homa Bay Secretary for the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims Abdul Masud, UDA Youth leader Evans Oloo, businessmen Michael Odhiambo, Ken Aloso and Moses Bala condemned the leaders for failing to attend the function.
Oloo said the leaders failed on their representation duty because they could have seized the opportunity to discuss challenges in the county with the President.
They accused their leaders of playing cheap politics.
“They (leaders) are our representatives and they should have used the opportunity to lobby for projects which can benefit the people.
Masud said that by attending the function, the leaders would have created a picture of cordial relationship with the State.
“The President assured of his commitment to work with the elected leaders but its unfortunate that the leaders were nowhere to be seen,” he said.
Odhiambo said that development requires the goodwill of the State and the President, adding that it can only take place through interaction.
“There are national government development projects which should be done to completion in Homa Bay. Therefore, we expect our leaders to liaise with the President to get his goodwill,” he said.
Phillip Pande, a youth empowerment advocate in Kisumu, faulted the leaders for failing to attend the church service.
Pande argued that the leaders, especially Governor Wanga, should have emulated her Kisumu counterpart Anyang’ Nyong’o who received Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua when he graced the closing ceremony of the music festivals at the lakeside city recently.
“Wanga’s absence at President William Ruto’s visit in her own county is analogous to the unnecessary grandstanding after each general election... the presidency is an institution... the sooner we move on and allow our people to heal the better,” said Pande.
Achol Obote, a resident, said he was surprised that leaders from other counties in Nyanza were in attendance as their colleagues in Homa Bay were a no-show.
Nyanza leaders who accompanied Ruto at the function were ICT CS nominee Eliud Owalo, MPs David Ochieng (Ugenya), Mathias Robi (Kuria West), Marwa Kitayama (Kuria East) and Lake Basin Development Authority Managing Director Raymond Omollo.
Others were former MPs Silvance Osele (Kabondo Kasipul), Martin Ogindo (Rangwe), Dalmas Otieno (Rongo), Jared Kopiyo (Awendo), Nicholas Gumbo (Rarieda), Ken Obura (Kisumu Central), former Kisumu Senator Fred Outa and former LBDA chairman Odoyo Owidi.
Obote said the President’s tour of Homa Bay offered leaders an opportunity to present development needs for the county.
Senator Kajwang’, MPs Peter Kaluma (Homa Bay Town) and Millie Odhiambo (Suba North) said they were not invited.
“Let nobody talk of boycott. I was not invited,” Kajwang’ said.