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County chiefs use Jamhuri fete to campaign, defend records

Governors in western Kenya on Monday led residents in Jamhuri Day celebrations held in various sub-counties, but turned the functions into campaign platforms.

At the events to mark 53 years since the country gained independence, the county bosses accused their opponents of being “enemies of devolution”.

They asked residents to reject such politicians.

The Kisumu, Kakamega, Siaya, Homa Bay, Vihiga and Kericho county bosses are facing opposition from rivals, including senators, who have vowed to unseat them.

The lawmakers have accused the governors of abetting corruption and killing the dream of devolution owing to little development initiated in the regions.

In Kakamega, Governor Wycliffe Oparanya asked residents to re-elect him in next year’s polls to enable him to consolidate development projects started during his first term in office. He spoke at Bukhungu Stadium.

Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma addressed a low-key event, which he used to highlight what he had done for the past four years.

The event was snubbed by leaders, including his deputy Ruth Odinga, MPs and MCAs.

Vihiga Governor Moses Akaranga used the celebrations held at the Municipal Grounds in Mbale Town to clarify on the title of Elder of the Order of the Golden Heart.

He downplayed recent media reports that he had been left out of the list of county bosses lined up for the award this year.

In Homa Bay, Governor Cyprian Awiti warned that his administration would not condone violence in the county.

County Commissioner Kassim Farah criticised some leaders who move around the region, insulting others, instead of telling voters what they want to do for them.

In a speech read on his behalf by his deputy, Mr Wilson Ouma Onyango, Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga asked the striking doctors and nurses in the county to immediately return to work and help save the lives of the suffering residents.

“On the 14th, we (governors) will sign a CBA (collective bargaining agreement) with the health staff to ensure their grievances are completely addressed,” he said.

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Sombre Jamhuri Day