BLAME GAME

Senator Outa blames Raila's heckling on Kisumu leadership

The legislator says the county government did not do proper public participation

In Summary

•Placard-carrying youths embarrassed the opposition leader and dismissed his handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta

•Nyong’o government accused of not involving the public in the industrial park project in Muhoroni

Kisumu Senator Fred Outa.
Kisumu Senator Fred Outa.
Image: MAURICE ALAL

Kisumu Senator Fred Outa has blamed last Monday's heckling of ODM leader Raila Odinga in Muhoroni on the county government.

The senator told Ramogi FM morning talk show on Thursday that Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o's government had not involved the public in the industrial park project at Ombeyi in Muhoroni.

Outa said the project might face more obstacles if somebody goes to court and challenges its implementation on grounds that there was no public participation.

"There is no resident who can fight a project that is supposed to benefit people. The Kisumu government should take responsibility for the heckling because I know the public was not involved."

The said he learnt of the Raila visit on Sunday night – just hours to the launch of the project – and that is why he did not attend.

Muhoroni residents heckled Raila, who was accompanied by three Cabinet Secretaries, as he stood to speak.  Some of the hecklers held placards ridiculing his handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Upset by the turn of events, the former Prime Minister accused some unidentified people of embarrassing him and his entourage.

Outa said county governments, among them Kisumu, ignore public participation yet it is a constitutional requirement.  

"The Senate has received a lot of complaints from Kenyans about county governments failure to involve residents in projects. Governors must comply with the law and avoid conflict with the public," he said.

The senator accused the Kisumu county assembly and the executive of losing touch with the public by not reach out to them for their views.

Raila was accompanied by CSs Peter Munya (Trade), James Macharia (Transport) and John Munyes (Mining).

Angry youths protested alleged grabbing of their ancestral land and demanded compensation from the government before the project takes off.

Governor Nyong’o has apologised to Raila over the incident.

The governor, who was on a trip to Denmark at the time of Raila’s visit, said in a statement on Tuesday that it was disgraceful for residents to reject development.

He said the heckling was pre-arranged because the Muhoroni residents need development. 

“It is regrettable that a small band of engineered naysayers deliberately decided to embarrass our guest and resist development in the county purely for political mileage,” Nyong’o said.

"We will not be deterred by a few visionless people from continuing to change Kisumu's economy for the better.

Edited by P Wanambisi