Members of Parliament from Kisii County have faulted Governor James Ongwae for inviting Cord leader Raila Odinga to open the just ended investors’ summit instead of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
This follows a war of words between the governor and the MPs who he accused of skipping the event even after being invited.
Speaking on behalf of youth from both Nyamira and Kisii Counties, youth leader and journalist Nyambega Gisesa described the action by the MPs as cowardly. “We are now the laughing stock of the nation because of the selfish interests of our elected legislators. Many of them have not initiated any meaningful development projects and it’s seems that they want the County to fail like them, ” Gisesa said. The youth leader accused the MPs of demanding for kickbacks and freebies from the Summit organisers before attending the event. He also said that they wanted to embarrass Raila Odinga, through whose support they were elected to parliament.
The MPs, however, insisted that they had not received any invitation to attend the Entrepreneurship Summit, accusing the governor of being a lone ranger.
But the governor has insisted that he personally signed invitation letter to the legislator, adding that his deputy also reminded al the nine MPs two days to the event.
Only Senator Chris Obure and Woman Representative Mary Otara attended the summit even though they only appeared on the first day.
“I personally singed the letters more than a month ago. My Deputy Joash Maangi called them two days to the event and even sent them reminder text messages. However, they decided not to show up,” the governor told the Nation.
“These MPs are just clutching at straws. They gave the education conference a wide berth last year, yet we had invited them. I read politics in this matter. They are not being sincere,” Mr Ongwae added.
Deputy Governor Mr Maangi, County Secretary Johnstone Ndege and Public Service Board chairman Andrew Kombo also confirmed having sent invitation letters to the MPs.
Kitutu Chache North MP Jimmy Angwenyi and his Kitutu Chache South counterpart Richard Onyonka said they agreed at a meeting in Nairobi not to set foot in the summit.
“We decided to skip the event not just to show him our displeasure with the way he is doing things but also to tell him never to take us for a ride. We are elected leaders and we deserve respect,” Mr Angwenyi said.
The MPs further complained of a lapse in protocol, explaining that the governor had erred when he invited Cord leader Raila Odinga to open the summit and have President Kenyatta close it. To them, it should have been the other way round.
Mr Angwenyi said this arrangement amounted to disrespect for the Office of the President.
“As Gusii people, we respect authority. Whether we voted for him or not, the President must be respected. These are serious protocol misgivings and should never have happened,” he said.
Mr Onyonka accused the governor of ignoring them while planning the forum.
“Let him continue doing this as he wishes. We have held meetings with him in the past but it seems he is not willing to change. Let him continue so as if f he has put Kisii in his pocket,” Mr Onyonka said.