Anyang Nyong'o administration bans political rallies in Kisumu CBD

Kisumu Governor Anyang' Nyong'o

Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The Kisumu County government has banned political rallies in the lakeside city’s central business district and its environs.

In a notice dated May 27, acting City Manager Abala Wanga said the move was aimed at protecting public property, local infrastructure and newly added urban aesthetics in the CBD. 

“The city management shall designate areas for political gatherings outside the CBD,” said Mr Wanga.

He said his office had painted buildings, beautified roundabouts, planted trees and repaired roads in the lakeside city, which he said risked being destroyed by political activities.

 “In the event of non-compliance, the city of Kisumu shall itself apprehend the violators and will also institute legal action,” said Mr Wanga.

The notice was issued on a day one of Governor Anyang Nyong’o’s main rivals for the county’s top seat, Mr Jack Ranguma, was launching his candidature.

Mr Ranguma, who was the first Kisumu governor from 2013 to 2017, is seeking to recapture his seat on a Movement for Democracy and Growth (MDG) ticket.

The former governor had reportedly planned to launch his bid in Muhoroni and come by road all the way to the city centre, where he was scheduled to address a mammoth rally.

The ban on rallies came just days after the city management lifted a ban on billboards and campaign posters within the city centre.

The lifting of the ban on billboards and posters however came with a rider that the campaign material would not be placed anywhere in the city centre or on roundabouts that were jointly refurbished by the county government and the business community.

The ban on billboards and posters had been imposed on February 21 during a Kisumu County ODM delegates conference at Tom Mboya Labour College.

Participants at the ODM meeting agreed that prime spaces should be used to market the lakeside city and welcome guests ahead of the ninth edition of the Africities Summit, which was held in the city between May 17 and May 21.

The ban expired on May 25th.

"We understand that campaigns are here with us but we cannot have politicians putting up posters all over town, especially on the newly refurbished roundabouts and the Oginga Odinga streets. We have to maintain cleanliness and order in our CBD," said Mr Wanga.

The move has, however, been opposed especially by first-time aspirants eyeing various seats in the county.

"We have always known that after the campaigns we need to remove the posters and billboards, so I don't see any reason why we should be stopped from placing them," said Dr Kisia, a woman rep aspirant.

Mr Shedrack Okindo, who is contesting the Kisumu gubernatorial seat as an independent candidate, also disagrees with the county government.

"Africities is gone. It is now time for us as new promising leaders to introduce ourselves to the voters so that they know the kind of individuals they are going to elect," said Mr Okindo.

He appealed to Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairman Wafula Chebukati to intervene.

"This is an electoral offence. It is discriminatory and an infringement of the rights of his rivals," said Mr Okindo.

He pointed out that the move will complicate the campaigns of those going for the gubernatorial seat, woman representative and senatorial seats as well as the Kisumu Central parliamentary seat and ward representative seats within the constituency that hosts the CBD.


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