Kisumu governor Anyang’ Nyong’o has once again clashed with the Odinga family over pending land rates.
Last month, Prof Nyong’o declared that a list bearing the name of first Vice-President Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and his son, Dr Oburu Odinga, was “erroneous” and apologised to the family.
The list, published as an advertisement in one of the dailies on November 23 indicated that the late Ajuma Oginga Odinga owed the country Sh7,774,099 while and Dr Odinga owed Sh295,743.
But on Monday, Jaramogi’s family was furious after Prof Nyong’o’s said the list was correct. In another advertisement published in a daily on December 19 on 100 per cent waiver on penalties, the Governor stated:
“Kindly note that after January 4, 2019, all rate defaulters who fail to take advantage of the Christmas waiver window (December 19-January 4) shall be subjected to terms and conditions as provided in the notice on the newspaper dated November 23.”
Mr Omondi Odinga, Jaramogi’s son whose family lives on the land in Milimani, on Monday said the governor had affirmed that his father still owes the county government arrears despite his initial apology.
“We are law-abiding citizens and if they insist that the notice published on November 23 bearing my late father’s name still stands, then we are ready to pay,” Mr Omondi said. “But if they are playing politics, we shall handle this matter politically as a family.”
Former Kisumu Land Task Force Committee chairman and Kisumu Community Welfare Association secretary general George Weda questioned the county government over the publication it had disowned as erroneous.
Meanwhile, county Finance executive Nerry Achar said the published list might have had specific errors, but was not entirely erroneous.
When he apologised to the Odinga family, Governor Nyong’s said compiling the list was an elaborate process and regretted that what appeared in the newspaper was a draft.
“Waiver is normal and good for taxpayers but should not be pegged on an erroneous defaulters list. The county must thoroughly vet what is being released to the public,” Mr Weda told Nation.
In a fresh twist, Mr Nerry Achar said he was not aware of any published erroneous rate defaulters list.
“I am not aware of the erroneous list you are referring to. The advertisement placed in the newspaper may have just had specific individual errors but not the entire list,” Mr Achar said.
In his apology to the Odinga family last Month, Governor Nyong’o explained that the county compiled the list in an effort to manage the ballooning land rates account, a circumstance that has had serious implications on revenue management.
“This was an elaborate process that entailed reconciling the accounts resident in the various payment platforms, dating back to the defunct local government,” Prof Nyong’o said.