Luo elders faction now rejects plan to elect new chairman

Nyandiko Ongadi

Members of a faction of the Luo Council of Elders led by their chairman Nyandiko Ongadi speak to journalists in Homa Bay town on March 11, 2023. The elders had then challenged Azimio leader Raila Odinga to reach out to President William Ruto to ensure peace prevailed in the country. 

Photo credit: George Odiwuor | Nation Media Group

A section of elders from the Luo community have rejected plans for elections to be held to replace the chairman of the Luo Council of Elders Willis Otindi who died in February.

The elders from a rival faction of the council, led by Ker Nyandiko Ongadi, said they were preparing to challenge the matter in court as they accused Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition leader Raila Odinga of meddling in their activities.

The Ker Ongadi faction is associated with President William Ruto.

The group said it will not allow Mr Odinga to interfere with the activities of the council, accusing him of dictating to them on key decisions affecting the community.

Mr Ongadi said he was the bona fide leader of the group and no elections should be held to replace Ker Otondi.

“I have the registration documents of the Luo Council of Elders and no one should claim to lead the group,” said Mr Ongadi. He added that he has been filing tax returns for the council every year.

“The government recognises me as Ker. I hold all valid documents which were used to register the outfit,” said Mr Ongadi. He added that if elections are held to replace Mr Otondi, he would not recognise the new chairman.

Elections for the chairman of the council are held when the sitting chairman dies. The split in the council started in 2015 when then Ker Riaga Ogallo died.

Mr Ongadi, who was then an official in the outfit, was picked to lead by a group of elders drawn from different counties.

But Mr Odinga, who is the patron of the group, officiated an event at Sony Grounds in Migori where Otondi was installed as the then new leader of the council.