Political leaders from Gusii region on Monday met with an angry family and residents as they tried to pass their condolences after track legend Nyandika Maiyoro died on Sunday.
The locals accuse politicians of ignoring the legend as he battled illness and land grabbers on his plot of land, about seven hectares in Nyamira, he received as gratitude for service to the country.
Mr Maiyoro,88, one of Kenya’s seminal Olympiads died on Sunday at the Christa Marianne hospital in Kisii where he had been admitted to manage a bout of Tuberculosis.
While in hospital, his family had tried to seek help for funds to pay the rising bill and it was not until Interior CS Fred Matiang'i moved in and settled the medical bills that the situation was managed.
Yet the anger from the family and residents is that for the man who sweated to bring family to their Gusiiland, politicians largely looked the other way despite receiving the SOS from him.
His daughter Elector Kerubo said Dr Matiang’i had, beside settling the bill promised justice for the old man over their alleged grabbed piece of land in a settlement in Nyamira.
"As a family, we really appreciate the interior CS for taking up the matter and settled the medical bills " she said before laying into politicians for feigning ignorance.
“While in hospital, my father cried out to the local leaders for help to clear his bills but nobody responded.”
The family also accuses local county officials of grabbing land on which the house the athlete was given by President Jomo Kenyatta sits, next to Gusii stadium. Mr Maiyoro once worked as manager of the stadium before he retired in 2002.
On Sunday evening, leaders started issuing condolence messages. Kisii County governor James Ongwae and his counterpart from Nyamira John Nyagarama praised Nyandika for his heroics in athletics.
"It's with deep sorrow that I learnt of the sudden demise of athletics icon Nyantika Mayioro, he will be truly remembered for his outstanding contribution in athletics in Kenya and indeed in the world " said governor Ongwae's statement.
"Nyandika is a pioneer Kenyan athlete who built international reputation while competing for team Kenya under the British colonial rule in 1956 in Melbourne Australia where he astonished many,” the Kisii Governor said referring to an incident in which Maiyoro is said to have started a raise 30 seconds late but still beat his opponents to the tape
On his side, Nyagarama said: "On my own behalf,my family and that of the county government of Nyamira ,l wish to extend my heartful condolence to the the family and friends of the legendary athlete Nyandika Mayioro who passed on yesterday evening".
Locals disputed the condolences saying the leader failed to assist Mayioro when he needed there help.
"I am really disappointed by our local leaders,they are now pretending to be caring while they neglected Nyantika during time of help " said Dennis Okindo, a local resident.
Nyaribari Chache MP Richard Tong'i was one of the few leaders who had asked the president to intervene in ensuring the family repossess the said land.
“Your father gave Mzee Nyantika a piece of land in Nyamira after he had represent the country well in international events but it has been grabbed by people who are well known in the area” said Nyaribari chache member of parliament, Richard Tong’i, when President Uhuru Kenyatta toured Kisii last week.
“For long time now we have tried to solve the issue with the county commissioner but its yet to bear fruits” said the law maker.
Kisii county senator Sam Ongeri termed Nyandika as a passionate citizen who loved to carry the mantle of the country in Olympics.
He leaves behind two widows and several children.