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Murmurs as Kisumu chiefs ordered to surrender GK motorcycles for ‘safe keeping’ – PHOTOS

There was controversy in Kisumu on Monday after Deputy County Commissioner Tom Machenere ordered chiefs to surrender their work motorcycles for ‘safe custody.’

Mr Machenere, who administers Kisumu Central Sub-County, had told the local chiefs to handover their bikes by 4pm on Monday, something which did not go down well with the administrators.

“We still do not understand the reason because the bikes are usually very vital especially on security surveillance,” one chief who sought anonymity for fear of reprisal told Nation.

A spot check at the Kisumu Central sub-county offices revealed at least three motorbikes that had been surrendered by the administrators.

LOGGER HEADS

Other sources confided to the Nation that Mr Machenere had “been at logger heads with the local administrators demanding that they rally the locals to vote for the Jubilee Government.”

“As public servants, the Chiefs and all civil servants are supposed to remain apolitical and coercing them to back Jubilee is not in good faith,” said the source.

Three motorbikes surrendered by chiefs at Kisumu Central sub-county offices on August 07, 2017. PHOTO | ONDARI OGEGA
Three motorbikes surrendered by chiefs at Kisumu Central sub-county offices on August 07, 2017. PHOTO | ONDARI OGEGA

When contacted, Mr Machenere said there were fears the bikes could be “destroyed” by members of the public should chaos arise.

“Following what happened in 2007 when some State property were destroyed, we thought it was wise to take back the bikes and return them to the Chiefs later,” said the DCC.

“We have however, asked them to take them back after consultation with the County Commissioner,” Mr Machenere said.

UHURU INTIMIDATING CHIEFS

The directive itself was controversial because it follows comments made by President Uhuru Kenyatta in Kitui that chiefs siding with opposition National Super Alliance would be dealt with after elections, something interpreted to mean intimidating chiefs to tore the line.

While Kisumu and neighbouring counties have been fingered by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission as potential violent hotspots, security officials have consistently assured the public of enough security.

Last week, County Commissioner Maalim Mohammed banned election-related protests but said the police will be alert to secure the voting.

On Monday, Mr Maalim told Nation he was not aware of the directive to confiscate the bikes from the Chiefs.

“As far as am concerned the bikes should assist in security surveillance especially during the elections tomorrow (Tuesday),” Mr Mohammed said.

Mr Machenere later said the County Commissioner directed the Chiefs to take back their bikes.