Governor Simba Arati rejects Machogu’s talks offer, insists attackers face law

Arati, Machogu, Osoro

Kisii Governor Simba Arati and Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu (top left) South Mugirango MP Silvanus Osoro (bottom left).

Photo credit: Nation Media Group

An attempt by Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu to broker the reconciliation of Kisii Governor Simba Arati and South Mugirango MP Silvanus Osoro has hit a snag after the county boss rejected the move.

Mr Arati demanded that law enforcement agencies take action against those who he said injured innocent civilians when armed people stormed a meeting he was addressing in South Mugirango a few days ago.

Four people sustained gun wounds and are still recuperating at various hospitals in the county. Those who shot and wounded civilians were captured on video, but police are yet to arrest any of them.

Mr Arati said that the first step to finding a long lasting solution to the problems in the county is for the authorities to act with impartiality and take deterrent action against any law breaker, irrespective of their position in society.

He questioned Mr Machogu’s intervention saying: “You cannot be a coach, a referee, a linesman and a player in one game. This country has laws and they must be followed by everyone,” said Mr Arati.

In a letter addressed to the governor and Mr Osoro, Mr Machogu urged the two to attend a reconciliation meeting on January 17.

The letter was copied to Kisii Catholic Diocese Bishop Joseph Mairura Okemwa, Solicitor-General, Shadrack Mose, SDA Executive Secretary Leonard Aencha and Dr Moses Anyega, the Overseer of Pentecostal Assemblies of God.

“The Gusii Community is concerned about the sporadic cases of insecurity and violence that have been witnessed in the region in recent months. To get to the bottom of this disturbing matter, it has been decided that consultations be initiated … to find a lasting solution,” the letter reads.

Governor Simba Arati: Gunshots fired were aimed at me

However, Mr Arati feels that Mr Machogu cannot be an impartial umpire since he is reportedly viewed as being one of the forces using Mr Osoro to undermine him.“His point men are involved, they are always in those meetings.”

The ODM party, led by Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna, professionals from South Mugirango and members of the Kisii County Assembly have condemned the violence.

Just a day after Mr Machogu’s letter, Bishop Mairura condemned the violence and urged those behind it to stop it.

“We don’t want violence. Those targeting the governor should know that Abagusii don’t solve their problems this way. We address our issues calmly and through elders to find solutions,” he said.

The animosity between Mr Osoro and Mr Arati started long before the 2022 elections when the two came to blows at a burial ceremony.

After the last elections, some youths led by a suspected serial criminal embarked on a campaign calling on the governor to step down. The suspect, currently in custody, is alleged to have been seen in high profile meetings held by Mr Osoro and Mr Machogu.

A number of people believed to be supporters of the governor have been attacked. After bloody confrontations, a boda boda rider who was wearing a reflector jacket with Mr Arati’s portrait was waylaid and killed in Kisii town. So far, two riders have been killed in the violence, which keeps flaring up.

Mr Arati protested against the killings and blamed Interior CS Kithure Kindiki and other powerful individuals for allegedly sponsoring the violence to undermine his leadership.

On Saturday, Mr Arati condemned the violence in South Mugirango and likened it to the lawlessness in Somalia. He said that failure by law enforcement agencies to take action had sent signals that those behind the violence were powerful, and Mr Osoro was simply executing a master plan from his grandmasters outside Kisii.

The governor said a man who was standing next to him was hit with a bullet that was allegedly aimed at him and questioned who the gunmen with AK-47 assault rifles were and what their mission was.

Mr Arati claimed that a number of cases where political thugs had attacked public officials, including doctors, had gone unpunished, creating the impression that the perpetrators were protected by powerful forces. He said that security officers who have attempted to arrest the perpetrators of the violence have been transferred.

Earlier in the week, Mr Osoro distanced himself from the attack in Nyakembene. He that he was in Nyamarambe centre within the constituency when he was informed of the attack on Mr Arati’s meeting.

He indicated that he had initially planned to hold a development tour in Nyakembene but opted for another venue a kilometre away after 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 mine about a kilometre away,” said Mr Osoro.