By Douglas Ogari.
Kisii Kenya 30 August 2021……..Student of history would tell you that had Omogusii united in the year 1967, our political trajectory would be different thereafter.
Inflated egos between Lawrence Sagini and James Nyamweya denied Omogusii the post of Vice President of Kenya in the year 1967 like a joke.
The seat went to Minister of Home Affairs Daniel Torotich Arap Moi who would later become President.
Lawrence Sagini (Kitutu) and James Nyamweya ((Nyaribari) were perennially antagonistic and, when then vice president, Mr Joseph Murumbi, stepped down, there was talk that Sagini threatened to lead a revolt if Nyamweya was appointed to replace him.
Sagini was the first LEGCO representative of Kisii in 1961 and later became MP for Kitutu West in 1963 & subsequently first Minister for Education at Independence year.
On the other hand, Nyamweya was one of the pioneer KANU leaders who drafted its initial constitution who enjoyed ministerial appointments, party leadership and parastatal posts in both Kenyatta and Moi governments.
The Gusii political rivalry took a new turn with the rising influence of Simeon Nyachae.
His entry into active politics in 1988 was met with active opposition by the then legislators who opposed the move.
It turned to a worse extent in the year 1990 when four MPs (David Onyancha, Zachary Onyonka, Chris Obure and Andrew Omanga) convened a huge rally to castigate Nyachae’s secret influence in Gusii politics and supervised the ‘fake’ burial of Presidential candidate Simeon Nyachae.
While the owners of Kebirigo declaration termed it a strong political ideology that stood for independence & legitimacy of each constituency, Nyachae said that the opposition from members of parliament was because he refused to defend Zachary Onyonka’s shooting incident case.
At the end, Nyachae’s would be Presidential candidacy in 2002 faced hurdles but still managed to accumulate votes from Gusii and the whole nation, he came third.
Before running for president in 2002, former powerful Cabinet minister Simon Nyachae received blessings from elders a couple of times, culminating in a major rally at Gusii Stadium, where he declared his ambitions months to the 2002 elections.
Following Nyachae’s exit from politics and having been the Gusii community’s kingpin, Matiang’i is emerging as his successor, elevated far above other leaders from the region.
Gusii elders had held a press conference in Kisii town where they declared Fred Matiang’i the region’s point man in political and socio-economic matters.
Matiang’i worked as Nyachae’s shadow for many years, an opportunity that could have contributed to his political ambitions.
He was Nyachae’s campaign manager and the personal assistant in the 2002 General Election and is considered an experienced political strategist par excellence.
He not only oversaw Nyachae’s unsuccessful presidential run under the then regional behemoth Ford People party but also went ahead to become one of Mzee’s trusted loyalists.
Interestingly, the debate has been anchored around powerful Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i, who a number of senior leaders want to unite the community for a common purpose.
Since 2002 when Simeon Nyachae contested for Presidency, the Abagusii people have approached politics in a liberal manner, with virtually all top presidential candidates getting votes from the region.
Fred Matiang’i has as well shown he’s formidable, competent and effective.
Matiang’i has been holding secret meetings with political and opinion leaders from the region.
He is said to have brushed off an initial push by Kisii leaders to either run for either Kisii or Nyamira governor, another indication that his sights are fixed elsewhere.
Firming up his grip on Kisii politics, the CS has rolled out activities across Nyamira and Kisii.
For a redefined future of Omogusii, Matiang’i should contest for Presidency in 2022.