ODM says governor Arati’s life in danger, wants Kisii police boss transferred

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Party has expressed concerns about the life and safety of its National Vice Chairperson and Kisii Governor Simba Arati following repeated violent attacks perpetrated by ‘known’ persons in broad daylight.

The Party’s Secretary General Edwin Sifuna said the attacks are being perpetrated by what appears to be tacit support and collaboration with elements in the security forces.

Their outrage came days after people associated with National Assembly Chief Whip Silvanus Osoro allegedly disrupted a bursary distribution meeting at Nyakembene in Boikang’a Ward, South Mugirango, leading to the teargasing of the crowd, shooting of four people and injuries to many others.

The bursary distribution was presided over by Osoro’s political nemesis, Arati.

Sifuna demanded that the Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome immediately transfer the Kisii Police County Commander Charles Kases and other top security officers in the county.

“Action be taken against the officers identified in the attack. They should be interdicted as they await their date with Justice. At the very minimum Osoro should be asked to record a statement if he is too powerful to be arrested,” demanded the ODM Secretary General.

Sifuna further wants the Independent Police Oversight Authority to immediately commence investigations into the abuse of police power in Kisii County.

“All these must happen within the next 14 days failing which the Party will pursue other avenues to ensure law and order in Kisii. In the meantime, we wish to state that should any harm come to the party’s national chairperson as a result of any subsequent attack against him, the persons named here including Osoro, Kases, and the IG of Police will be held personally responsible,” warned Sifuna.

Sifuna added, “Following the public outrage over the incident and fearing a backlash, it is now understood that the police in Kisii are now planning a diversionary raid on the Governor’s residence in the guise of searching for firearms.”

The Kisii County security team earlier in the week led by County Commissioner Tom Anjere equally condemned the Nyakembene incident, saying that the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) officers are on the ground doing their work.

“We condemn the event that event that happens in Guchs district where the lives of the citizens were put at risk. The security team is doing all that is within its means to ensure that such does not happen again,” said Anjere.

Anjere stressed that the law must be followed to the letter notwithstanding a person’s position in the society; urging that locals, victims included, should come out and volunteer information that will be helpful to the investigation process.

“I warn all leaders in this county that we are watching you. We are going to respect you up to the extent where you are going to respect the people,” he said.

Anjere went on: “We cannot be kept in a perpetual environment of violence from January to December; we have other engagements. This is not the sole concern that we have. Let us respect each other, the law and the position that we are holding”.

The county security chief called on police officers in the region to “act decisively and professionally” and resist any form of intimidation by the position held by leaders in the county.

Earlier on Monday, Osoro distanced himself from the attack at Nyakembene.

Osoro stated that he was in Nyamarambe center, within the constituency, when he was informed of the attack on Arati’s meeting.

He noted that, initially, he had planned to hold one of his development tours in Nyakembene but opted for another venue a kilometer away upon learning that the governor was also scheduled to hold an event there.

“I was supposed to commission Nyabisase-Nyakembene road but when I heard that the governor was holding a meeting there, I moved min about a kilometer away,” said Osoro.

Members of Kisii County Assembly in a joint statement read on their behalf earlier in the week by Ichuni Ward MCA Wycliffe Siocha, recounted instances where Osoro has allegedly stirred chaos and seemingly went scot free.

“Last year, Osoro brought in goons who descended on mourners during the burial of the father of Boikang’a Ward MCA Paul Okombo in a bid to disrupt the governor’s speech. A number of people sustained injuries from the arrow shots by the goons but no action has been taken,” the statement read.

The MCAs also accused MP Osoro of having organised goons from the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NGCDF) office to attack medical staff at Nduru Level 4 Hospital within his constituency.

“Suspects were arrested but Osoro had them released,” Siocha read in the statement.

Even in the latest (Nyakembene) incident, the MCAs accused the local security apparatus of taking no action despite reports having been made.

“We condemn in the strongest terms possible the cowardly and nasty act by armed person’s on civilians attending the issuance of bursary forms by Governor Arati. The attack of innocent residents of Boikang’a Ward in South Mugirango is an insult to the entire Kisii County and a serious security threat,” the statement continued to read.

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