Writes Leo Odera Omolo In Mbita Town.
The Prime Minister Raila Oodinga has come under severest criticism for having failed to recognize the existence of the Luo-Abasuba community inside Luo-Nyanza.
Meeting at Sindo trading center in Kaksingiri Location, Gwassi constituency within Homa-Bay County the Suba Council of Elders led by their chairman Mzee Apollo Okeyo Omuga that it was time Raila Odinga to accept, acknowledge and recognize the existence of the Suba community.
The Suba elders accused the Prime Minister of trying to antagonize the Suba people with the aim and objective of marginalize them and hence his distortion of the community’s history in every funeral gathering as witnessed in the recent past.
It is time Raila Odinga to come to terms with the political realty the Suba community, a people numbering close to 100,00 do not owe their existence to him, but to the Almighty God the creator.
The community was recognized, and published in official gazette by the Kenya government under the retired President Daniel Arap Moi as an entity and there is nowhere the community can abandon their constitutional rights of existence.
Raila Odinga, while addressing a mammoth crowd of mourners during the tearful burial of the former Kenya’s envoy to the UN Ambassador Michael George Okeyo at his Kaswanga village home on Rusinga Island, rubbished the existence of a community called Abasuba, arguing that all those people claiming to be Suba were actually Luos and nothing else.
Odinga had brought along with him from Kisumu the chairman of the moribund Luo Council of Elders, Mzee Willis Opiyo Otondi, as assign of recognition to his group.
The Immigration and Registration of Persons Minister, Gerald Oteno Kajwang’, who was the master of ceremony, did not even mentioned the presence of a large number of Suba Council of Elders members who had travelled all from distance places like Mfangano Island, Gwassi, Lambwe Valley, Sun Migori, Muhuru Bay and other paces for the funeral.
Okeyo stressed the need for the Prime Minister to recognize and respect the rights of minority communities in this country. Already a workshop called for civic education covering two regions of Migori and Homa-Homa Counties at the weekend was boycotted by representatives from the two Kuria districts demanding that similar workshop be held in Kehancha instead of Migori inside Luo-Nyanza.
Th workshop was sponsored by the US Embassy. But the Kurias insist they have the right to hold their own workshop separate from the one organized inside Luo-Nyanza.
The Suba people are the inhabitants of two districts ands two parliamentary constituencies, namely Mbita and Gwassi. A lot of people of Suba origins are living in the diaspora districts like Awendo, Nyatike and Suna-Mgiori. Those residing in Suba region could be numbering about 75,000 adults, while the rest lives outside Suba region.
“The community knew its roots and as such does not need the Prime Minister distortion of historical facts and as such cannot lay down and watch to see their people being marginalized by Raila Odinga for political expediency, “ said Mzee Okeyo-Omuga.
On many occasions while visiting Western Province, the Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, had identified his family roots as having originated from with the Abawanga Kingdom of Nabongo Mumia.Nobody in Luo-Nyanza had ever disputed this claim of Luhyia’s blood in the Odinga family. The Luos still loved him so dearly despite of this kind of”double-speak.”said Okeyo.
Mzee Okeyo blamed Mbita MP Otieno Kajwanga’ as the one linked to a secret plot to rubbish the existence of the Suba people. On several occasions, especially during the burial of Mrs Turphena Agutu Okmbo in Kolo village Waware, in Rusinga East, and during the burial of Mrs Damarish Odhimbo the mother of the nominated MP Milly Odhimbo, Kajwang’ flagrantly and adamantly ignored the presence of the Suba Council of Elders. This is the same Kajwang;’who has represented the Suba people in the August House for the last 16 years. He has now shifted to the Senate, but still he will need the votes from the Suba people.
Okeyo appealed to Raila Odinga to humble himself to the Suba people. He should apologize for his uncalled for public utterances against the Suba people.”Respect is a two way traffic. We have all along respect Mr Odinga and even voter for him on a man to man in the 2007. He should reciprocate our good gesture of love and respect and total loyalty and allegiance we owed him.
As a statesman Mr Odinga must abandon parochial politics of survival and stop antagonizing the Suba people. The Suba people have lived harmoniously along side their Luo neighbors from time memorable and as such require not to be lectured by anyone.