WHY PRESIDENT DID NOT GO TO KISII
By W Kwenda Opanga via Facebook
A high ranking officer of the National Government told me this authoritatively on Friday night: “The President is not going to Kisii. I serve in his government and I am telling you take that to the bank.”
I was stunned for I knew how the Kisii County Government led by Governor James Ongwae and ordinary Abagusii, were looking forward to welcoming and hosting the head of state.
The County Government clearly reckoned President Kenyatta’s attendance and address would be the crowning moment of the popular three-day Kisii Entrepreneurship Summit at Kisii University.
Why? I asked. “You expect the President to close a meeting that was opened by Raila (Odinga)? Presidents don’t close meetings opened by opposition figures,” came the agitated reply. I clammed up.
It was useless volunteering or reminding that the opposition kingpin made the key note address but the opening speech was read by an Industrialisation PS on behalf of his CS.
I was still trying to process this protocol conundrum when I was asked why governors address each other as Your Excellency and why their wives are addressed as First Ladies.
That told me there lingers bitterness in the National Government at governors for appearing to rival the President. As the conversation ended, I told myself that ordinary Abagusii would understand only that the President did not visit them because they voted for the opposition.
I also understood the President’s no show to be a message to non-Jubilee governors: “You cannot have a bit of the President and a bit of Raila.” But since you cannot separate the people from their governors, this amounts to punishing them for exercising their democratic right.
Last, observers may now see why the nine Members of the National Assembly from Kisii County gave the summit a wide berth. The MPs would appear to be keen to back attempts at undermining the leadership of the devolved unit.