Governor Lenku says altercation is not between Senator Ledama and MP Manje but an internal struggle amongst Maasais
By Jonathan Teikan
Kajiado Governor Joseph ole Lenku has prevailed upon Kajiado North MP, Joseph Manje, to rescind his decision not to attend tomorrow’s Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) rally, in Narok even as ODM leader Raila Odinga called for tolerance.
Manje had, on Monday, February 17, led Kajiado North leaders in boycotting the Odinga-led BBI meeting at Maasai Lodge, vowing to instead present their proposals directly to the BBI secretariat.
The move was a reaction to Narok Senator Ledama ole Kina’s attack on Manje, where he urged the Kajiado North MP not to attend Maa BBI sessions and instead take his views to Mount Kenya.
Lenku, who presided over a bursary issuing ceremony in Ngong, on Thursday, February 20, said that every person living in Kajiado has a right to air their views on BBI. “Everyone has a right to express themselves but at the end of the day we must not lose sight of the fact that we are all Kenyans,” he said.
“Everyone must be accorded the opportunity to say where the shoe pinches. That is the freedom of expression we must all guard as Kenyans.”
He said that Ole Kina is a young person who does not understand where Kenya has come from. “When Kenyans descended into tribal anarchy in 2007, Ledama was in America,” said Lenku. “For your information this altercation is not between Ledama and Manje but an internal struggle amongst us Maasais, some of whom are unhappy that I was appointed to coordinate BBI activities in the region.”
Odinga, through his spokesperson Dennis Onyango issued a statement urging restraint. “…Odinga further appeals to the leaders of various communities living in these counties to work together and exercise tolerance in order to make both the event and the BBI process a success,” said the statement.
Ole Kina’s remarks, which he repeated on Citizen TV, also caught the attention of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission(NCIC), which promised to look into the matter: “With regards to the statements made on #JKLive yesterday (Wednesday February 19), the matter has come to our attention and we strongly condemn such utterances that may hinder cohesion in the country. We urge Kenyans to maintain peace and continue engaging in the BBI process…,” said the statement from NCIC.
Lenku said that as governor of Kajiado, it is upon him to fight for the rights of Manje. “I will demand to know why one of us is being discriminated against because you did not vote for me in vain;we shall not allow any outsider to interfere with our unity in Kajiado,” he said amidst cheers from the crowd.
He added that he had briefed President Uhuru Kenyatta on the situation in Kajiado. “This morning I told the president that I have two memorandums; one from Kajiado North and the other on from Maasai leaders; anyone fighting for their rights is not discriminating against the other person,” said Lenku.
Manje on his part said Ole Kina disrespected Lenku, by trying to dictate how the BBI process will be undertaken. “Lenku was given the mandate to bring together the people from Kajiado, Narok and Samburu,” said Manje. “Ole Kina should not come and try to divide the people of Kajiado; we have our own senator here.”
“Maasai are our brothers and we have learnt to co-exist peacefully with them; we have even intermarried with them. My mother was born here; I belong here. I have nowhere in Central (Kenya) to go to,” added Manje.
He asked the governor to facilitate the delegation from Kajiado North with transportation to Narok.
Nominated MCA Onesmus Ngogoyo cautioned Manje about his safety and cautioned him against travelling to Narok.