Four people nursing gunshot wounds as Kisii Governor Arati, MP Silvanus Osoro clash

South Mugirango Silvanus Osoro

Simba Arati and Silvanus Osoro in a past fistfight.

Photo credit: Ondari Ogega | Nation Media Group

Four people are nursing gunshot wounds while several others sustained injuries after Kisii Governor Simba Arati and South Mugirango MP Silvanus Osoro's supporters clashed at Nyakembene market on Monday.

Kisii County Police Commander Charles Kases, who confirmed the shooting in South Mugirango, said they were investigating the matter. Governor Arati recorded a statement at Kisii Central Police Station and urged his supporters to remain calm.

Governor Arati  has called on the police to arrest and prosecute armed individuals who fired on a rally he was addressing in South Mugirango Constituency, leaving scores critically injured.

The moment armed men attacked Kisii Governor Simba Arati in South Mugirango

Mr Arati, who implicated the area MP Silvanus Osoro, who is also the Chief Whip of the National Assembly, in the bloody attack, recorded a statement at Kisii Central Police Station in Kisii Town and expressed fears that his life was in danger.

The MP, however, has maintained his innocence and instead blamed Mr Arati for the mayhem.

Vandalised car

A vandalised Kisii County government vehicle. The vehicle was damaged after South Mugirango MP Silvanus Osoro clashed with Kisii Governor Simba Arati. 

Photo credit: Ruth Mbula | Nation Media Group

The governor had stopped at Nyakembene market to distribute bursaries when the drama unfolded.

AK 47 rifles

"While I was addressing the people in Boikang'a, the MP's goons arrived and started shooting. They had at least three AK 47 rifles," the governor said.

A video capturing the drama shows Mr Arati addressing hundreds of residents in Nyakembene before strangers arrived and started firing indiscriminately into the air, forcing everyone to scamper for safety.

In the video, a man dressed in civilian clothes is seen brandishing a gun.

During the commotion, the governor was guarded by his security personnel who led him to his car and evacuated him to safety, but not before tear gas was lobbed at his convoy.

He later left his car and was forced to hide in a maize plantation.

Panic and anger filled the air as some men threw stones to repulse the attackers, while children, women and men of all ages ran for their lives.

Mr Arati claimed there had been a systematic attempt to sabotage his work and even endanger his life and career as governor.

"Seven months ago, there was a similar attack at a funeral in South Mugirango and the police are yet to make any arrests," Mr Arati said.

He said medical workers at Nduru Lever 4 Hospital, in the same constituency, were also attacked and injured by thugs allegedly close to Mr Osoro, but no one has been arrested to face charges.

He demanded to know who was behind the attacks and called on the national government to clear its name.

"I want to tell Kenyans that Kisii is becoming a war zone because these acts of violence are systematic," Mr Arati told journalists.

Governor Simba Arati: Gunshots fired were aimed at me

Separately, Mr Osoro claimed that he was in Nyamarambe, within his constituency where he was distributing bursaries, when he heard that violence had broken out in Nyakembene.

"I had several activities, including commissioning 24 roads in my constituency. I was supposed to commission Nyabisase-Nyakembene road but when I heard that the governor was holding a meeting there, we moved mine about a kilometre away," Mr Osoro said.

He added that his team was attacked by the governor's supporters who took several items, including a microphone.

"My people ran for their lives and then regrouped to demand the items from the governor's team," he said, adding that this was when the scuffle occurred, leaving two of his drivers injured.

Mr Osoro said there was need for political tolerance in the area and claimed that Mr Arati had planned the attack and was playing the victim.

"I apologise to the people of South Mugirango and Kisii for what happened," he said.

Mr Arati called for calm and urged the police to speed up their investigations.

"We want to let the police investigate. Let's believe they will do their job and I ask you to be calm and keep the peace," he told angry supporters.