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Jaramogi's aides tell of frustration

Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - 00:00 -- BY SAMUEL OTIENO

PEOPLE
from Nyanza who gave testimonies to the Truth commission said the
community's marginalisation started after the 1969 Kisumu Massacre in
which more than 11 people were killed and thousands maimed by state
agents.

Former
Vice President Jaramogi Odinga's aides Edwin Onyango, Odhiambo Lomo and
Odungi Randa told the TJRC in Kisumu that the community's woes started
after the massacre and most of them were denied government services.

They said people bearing Luo names were denied government services including treatment at government hospitals. Some people, they said, had to change their names to access government services.

They said that besides being killed the community lost many development
opportunities as the government expressed its might by suppressing the
community.

The
witnesses said projects such as the Nyanza Provincial Hospital which
received funding from Russia was downgraded by the government so the
people may not benefit.

The
Nyanza Provincial Hospital where the massacre occurred was to be built
in three phases and on a 20-acre plot but only one phase was built after
the killings.

Radier
said other projects that Jaramogi Oginga Odinga had negotiated with the
Russian government but were reduced to small projects were the 200
acres Nyando irrigation scheme which was changed to Ahero. The other was
the technology polytechnic which was reduced to Kisumu Polytechnic.

The
witnesses said trouble on that day of massacre was stirred by Jomo
Kenyatta when he said that if Odinga were not his friend he would have
crashed him like maize flour. It was then Odinga stood up and told Kenyatta that the Luo were not happy with his leadership style.

The
events of the day of massacre were enhanced by the popularity of
Jaramogi Oginga and his allies such as Bildad Kaggia through the newly
formed Kenya People Union party.

They
said police shot at the innocent crowd including those who were at the
market place. They added Kenyatta in his speech did not mention anything
about the killings.

After the shooting a state of emergency was declared which lasted two weeks. The
commissioners were also presented with a memorudum by the family of the
late Hezekiah Ochuka who was alleged to have led the 1982 attempted
coup.

The family is yet to know where the remains of Ochuka were buried. The
family says that their lawyer in the Ochuka case Moses Wetangula had
refused to disclose confidential information given to him by Ochuka.