ANTI-BABA PROTEST

MP Koyoo apologies to Raila over Muhoroni heckling

Says local leaders should have warned ODM leader about concerns of residents

In Summary

• Supports industrial park project but says proper public consultation and compensation should be done.

• Koyoo condemns incident saying he will give a comprehensive report after investigation.

Muhoroni MP Onyango Koyoo in Chemelil
SORRY BOSS: Muhoroni MP Onyango Koyoo in Chemelil
Image: MAURICE ALAL

Muhoroni MP Onyango Koyoo has distanced himself from the hostility that greeted  ODM leader Raila Odinga in his constituency.

Koyoo condemned the incident saying he will give a comprehensive report after investigation.

Raila was heckled by angry residents who carried placards ridiculing his handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday.

Chaos erupted when Raila stood to speak about an industrial park the government wants to build in the area. The residents want compensation before the project takes off on their land.

Koyoo, who was away in Botswana on parliamentary duty during the incident, supported the project.

Yesterday, he said it will benefit the residents but proper public consultation and compensation should be done.

The MP apologised to the former prime minister saying the heckling was regrettable and uncalled for.

“I am very sorry for what happened in my constituency while I was away on official duty in Botswana. I left the country on May 5 and was back on Tuesday,” Koyoo said.

He told the Star on the phone faulted local leaders for failing to brief Raila on imminent hostility.

“Leaders present should have gathered intelligence and informed our leader in advance the concerns of residents,” Koyoo said.

 

Raila who was upset by the incident said some people were out to embarrass him and his entourage that included three Cabinet Secretaries.

He was accompanied by John Munyes (Petroleum), Peter Munya (Trade) and James Macharia (Infrastructure).

The heckling occurred when Raila was articulating government policy, signaling his newfound influence within the Jubilee administration.

Raila announced that the journey to make Kisumu an economic zone had begun and will officially be launched by Uhuru and two other presidents from the region in three months.

 “The government is on the right track. The President himself is very much behind this project and he says he wants to come here in August to do the launching of this project formally and we will invite President Museveni and also President Tshisekedi of DRC,” Raila told journalists

He and his delegation toured many government projects in the city including the controversial Kenya Pipeline Oil jetty.

The visit came weeks after Uhuru and Raila failed to secure Sh368 billion funding from China to extend the standard gauge railway to Kisumu, heightening anxiety in the latter’s foremost political bastion.

Matters were worsened after Macharia announced that the upgrading of the old railway line will also bypass the lakeside city as the government preferred the Eldoret route which is less damaged.

Raila’s delegation was met with resistance at Ombeyi area in Muhoroni with residents demanding compensation from the government before the project kicks off.

It’s here that the government plans to establish a special economic zone by building an industrial park.

Residents claimed the 500 acre-parcel was their ancestral land which was given irregularly to Ahero municipal council after torrential rains pounded the region for months in the early 1980s. 

They said displaced persons were moved to safer ground and years later the land was unprocedurally registered under the Ahero council.

Immediately Raila was welcomed by Kisumu Deputy Governor Mathews Owili to address the residents, a section of the crowed began heckling in a bid to disrupt his speech.

Some carried placards, written “handshake is not for land grabbing” in a clear attack on his truce with President Kenyatta.

Raila tried to cool the crowed, saying some elements were out to embarrass him with his guests.

“The matter of land and compensation is a small issue that can be solved, if you don’t want the project it will be taken elsewhere by the government. How can I bring visitors here and you carry placards? Do you want to embarrass me?” Raila posed.

The heckling immediately triggered a melee with a section of Raila’s backers landing on the protesters with blows as the former PM intervened for calm.