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Tuesday, 18 Apr 2017 13:52 EATnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.com
Kisumu Central MP Ken Obura was notably absent as President Uhuru Kenyatta began his two-day stay in the lakeside city today, joining MPs who include the area senator Anyang Nyong'o in snubbing the president's visit. The president will conduct events in the town this afternoon and will spend the night here ahead of other events in the neighbouring Vihiga County tomorrow.
All Kisumu MPs have previously welcomed the president during his two visits to the region, and their absence today was interpreted as part of their political calculation to show distance from the Jubilee government that President Kenyatta leads. However, many social media commentators from the region wondered aloud why Mr Obura, a first-time MP who has cooperated with the Jubilee government for three years, was missing from the president's entourage.
Mr Obura has actively campaigned for the Jubilee government in the region, at times expressing doubts about the ability of CORD leader Raila Odinga to win the upcoming presidential elections. During the voter registration exercise in January, Mr Obura's convoy was attacked by youths when he went to mobilise potential voters, accused of working for the Jubilee government.
Ironically, since the start of the campaign season the MP has adopted a fierce anti-Jubilee line in an attempt to endear himself back to the centre of opposition politics that's the fuel of Kisumu town's electoral dynamic. He is also reported to have recruited bloggers who have aggressively spun his comeback as part of a renewed effort to campaign for Mr Odinga.
Today, Senator Nyong'o, women representative Rose Nyamunga and MPs Olago Aluoch (Kisumu West), Fred Outa (Nyando), Dr James Nyikal (Seme), Aduma Owuor (Nyakach), Onyango K'Oyoo (Muhoroni ) and Shakeel Shabir (Kisumu East) snubbed the president's visit.
However, Governor Jack Ranguma was at hand to show the president the hospitality that Kisumu has to offer.