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Luo Council of Elders ‘disown’ Raila

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition party leader Raila Odinga has been accused of antagonizing the Luo community by pushing for election of a new chairman of the Luo Council of elders when leadership wrangles in the outfit have not been solved.

A group of elders drawn from four Nyanza counties and who support the leadership of Nyandiko Ongadi as the head of a faction of the council of elders told the ODM leader to concentrate on politics and let senior citizens conduct their activities without his involvement.

The group also want Mr Odinga not to be referred as the patron of the group saying they do not recognise his leadership at the outfit.

Luo Council of Elders has been split since 2015 when then chairman Ker Riaga Ogalo died.

Two factions have been claiming leadership of the group.

One group is led by Mr Ongadi while the other was led by the late Opiyo Otondi who died in February this year.

Plans are underway to have someone succeed Otondi and Mr Odinga has taken the front row in ensuring this happens.

Mr Odinga announced that the election will be held later this month.

But the group supporting Mr Ongadi led by chairman of Trustees in the Council Ariko Adoyo, Council Secretary General Silus Olala and Assistant Secretary Okinyi Rawo threatened to challenge the process in court on grounds that they are bonafide group and any attempts to have another leader will be like a coup in the group.

The group told Mr Odinga not to meddle in affairs of the group as he is accused of interfering with activities of the group which in turn affects the entire community.

“Elders are supposed to guide the community on the best direction they should take. Any attempts to destabilise us will have a ripple effect on the community and affect its prosperity,” Adoyo said.

Speaking during an elders meeting at Alaw Rachuonyo social hall in Kendu Bay town, Mr Adoyo said the council is a cultural organization which has its unique structure.

According to the senior citizen, the outfit does not have the position of a patron.

Mr Odinga has been referred as the patron of the council which has in the past given him power to make some decisions on behalf of the group including announcing plans for election.

But Mr Adoyo said they do not recognise the ODM leader anywhere in the leadership structure of the group.

“We are members of a cultural organization and we don’t have any patron. Anyone claiming to be the patron is misleading other people,” he said.

Mr Olala warned politicians against interfering with affairs of the council.

He told his fellow elders to stand firm against any politician who wants to divide the elders.

According to the senior citizens, they have the right to tell politicians what is right or wrong.

“We have the right to stop whoever wants to interfere with our activities. Anybody who tries to cause confusion in the outfit does not respect the Luo community and its elders,” Mr Olal said.

Mr Ongadi said he is the validly elected chairman of the Luo Council of Elders and extended an olive branch to his competitors.

He used the opportunity to display registration documents from the office of the Registrar of Societies with his name as the leader of the group.

“Anybody who attempts to conduct any election for the council leadership must be prepared for a legal duel,” Mr Ongadi said.

Former National Police Service spokesman Charles Owino, Lake Victoria South Water Works Development Agency Chairman Odoyo Owidi, fish Marketing Authority Chairman Martin Ogindo and former Nyakach MP Ochieng Daima were among leaders who attended the meeting.

They said plans to have another leader of the group will make the outfit lose track of its objectives.

According to Mr Owino, elders are supposed to guide the community and any antagonism between them makes them useless.

“We are already laughing behind as a community and we won’t let a few individuals push us back and away from development,” he said.

Mr Owidi said lack of empowerment among elders is what makes them vulnerable and be controlled by politicians.

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