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Recent Migori heckling height of intolerance, disrespect to presidency

President Uhuru Kenyatta with Migori Governor Okoth Obado during Uhuru’s recent visit to the County.

President Uhuru Kenyatta with Migori Governor Okoth Obado during Uhuru’s recent visit to the County.

The recent heckling of Migori governor in the presence of President Uhuru Kenyatta by unruly youth during his Nyanza tour was not only uncalled for, but also unfortunate.

The Head of State was welcomed in other parts of the county including Rongo, Awendo and Uriri where he announced the waiver of debts that sugarcane farmers owe the government and disclosed that billions of shilling had been set aside for cane farming in that region.

Things were different in Migori when Governor Okoth Obado rose to speak. Youth started shouting anti-government slogans, threw objects at the dais almost leading to a stampede. In Kenyan politics, this is not unusual and it could just pass for any other fracas, however, this was a presidential function.

It wasn’t just another political rally. Information has emerged that Obado had issues with boda boda operators in the town and that in his speech, he failed to address matters the residents considered crucial, such as the occupation of the Migingo Island by the Ugandan soldiers.

However, being a presidential function, it was highly uncalled for, even disrespectful for leaders to play out their differences in such a manner. The African practice is that, if you have a visitor in your home, you present the best manners, during the time of visit.

Therefore, it would have been prudent for local leaders to find another opportunity to flex their muscles, if this had to happen anyway. Such misdemeanor only serve to strengthen ethnic stereotyping, especially in a region that has witnessed incidences of outward and energetic exposition of emotions.

The incident reminisces what happened when the founding father of the nation, the late Mzeee Jomo Kenyatta visited Kisumu to open the new Nyanza General Hospital in 1969 where scores were shot dead by Kenyatta’s security men, but in Migori, no life was lost, thanks to Uhuru’s calmness.

There is need for respect of the institution of the presidency regardless of political affiliation. The presidency is a symbol of national unity . It is important to show respect and tolerance if democracy has to find true expression across our great country.

It is important to show respect and tolerance if democracy has to find true expression across our great country. Leaders must also read the mood of the public before organising functions of such magnitude.

Being a Cord zone and Obado being branded a Jubilee mole, coupled by the by-election that never was after the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governor, the timing could have been staggered, but still that would not take away respect that the presidency as an institution requires.

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