The trip by a delegation of leaders from the Gusii community to Deputy President (DP) William Ruto’s home in Sugoi, Eldoret, has elicited praise from those who were part of it and criticism from those who objected to it.
At least 1,500 political leaders and a group of supporters honoured an invitation by the DP to a meeting that was held on Thursday.
Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi, who led the delegation, termed it “warm and cordial”.
“It was about development and not party matters,” he told the Sunday Nation.
Bogetenga MCA Ronald Onduso, who attended the meeting, said: “The DP sounded reconciliatory and apologetic on whatever fractured the harmony that existed between the Kisii [people] and their Rift Valley neighbours”.
South Mugirango MP Manson Nyamweya, however, described the meeting as “self-serving” and “a throwback to the country’s dark days”.
He said it was shameful that in today’s constitutional dispensation people “travel to seek handouts from leaders”.
He said if there were any development issues to be discussed, the DP should have gone to the counties and held broad and consultative discussions.
“These so-called handouts are people’s money that should be put to good use to help improve the welfare of the common man,” Mr Nyamweya said.
But in a swift rejoinder, Kitutu Chache South MP Richard Onyonka said: “I guess if we went for handouts, it is not a bad idea. But anybody arguing that way is being juvenile.
“The people of Kisii are not fools. In politics, a smart mind must seek, look and find how and where to jump to”.
He said the meeting was one of many to allow serious discussion on the political future of the community.
“It is time, and this is it, that we started discussing real political issues about where the community is headed. Are we safe in ODM or JAP? We must be engaging,” he said.
Mr Nyamweya, however, said: “Someone needs to explain from which account they drew the travelling expenses because I’m sure they did not use personal funds”.
He said the trip amplified excess spending among its organisers.
CORRECTING TERRIBLE MISTAKE
Mr Onyonka said they had told Mr Ruto that the community was correcting the “terrible mistake they had made to jump into the bandwagon of opposition politics”.
“We have learnt from our mistakes and we will not afford to remain out of the government come the next General Election,” he said.
Kisii Woman Representative Mary Otara also disowned the meeting.
“They (delegation) didn’t represent Omogusii people but their own interests,” she said.
According to her, the meeting would not affect political dynamics in the region.
“People were just mobilised and they were no consultations done,” Ms Otara said.
Among others, Kisii Senator Chris Obure, his Nyamira counterpart Kennedy Okong’o, North Mugirango MP Charles Geni and Bomachoge Chache MP Simon Ogari skipped the meeting.
On Friday, they hastily mobilised a press conference to disown members who travelled to meet Mr Ruto.
They disassociated the party from the trip, saying it had no meaning for the Gusii.
But youth leaders led by Douglaus Ogari said they were ready to support any leader ready to help the youth realise their aspirations.
Mr Ruto said he was keen to come to the counties to hold fundraisers.