HANDSHAKE WOES

Sorry for the heckling in my constituency, Koyoo tells Raila

He was away in Botswana on Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Committee duty during the incident.

In Summary

• Raila was heckled on Monday as he toured Muhoroni with three CSs loaded with handshake goodies. 

• Koyoo says local leaders should have warned Raila that the ground was hostile. 

Muhoroni MP Onyango Koyoo
WASN'T ME: Muhoroni MP Onyango Koyoo
Image: MAURICE ALAL

Muhoroni MP Onyango Koyoo has distanced himself from the hostility to and heckling of ODM leader Raila Odinga in his constituency on Monday.

Koyoo on Tuesday condemned the incident saying he will give a comprehensive report after conducting an investigation into the matter.

He was away in Botswana on Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Committee duty during the incident.

 

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

Koyoo, however, 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 faulted local leaders for failing to brief Raila on imminent hostility.

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

Chaos erupted on Monday in Muhoroni when Raila stood up to speak about an industrial park the government wants to build in the area.

The residents demanded compensation before the project takes off on their land.

 

Raila, who was upset by the incident, said some people were out to embarrass him and his entourage that included Cabinet Secretaries John Munyes (Petroleum), Peter Munya (Trade) and James Macharia (Infrastructure).

The heckling occurred when Raila was articulating government policy, signalling 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 other government projects in the city including the controversial Kenya Pipeline Oil jetty.

The visit came just two 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 political bastion.

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

Ombeyi residents claimed the 500 acre-parcel earmarked for the industrial park 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 crowd began heckling in a bid to disrupt his speech.

Some carried placards, written “handshake is not for land grabbing” in an attack on Raila’s truce with President Kenyatta.

Raila tried to cool the crowd, 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.

(Edited by O. Owino)