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Cracks emerge in the planning of Nyanza Investment Conference

Governors led by Anyang Nyong’o (Kisumu) Gladys Wanga (Homabay), Simba Arati (Kisii) and Ochilo Ayacko (Migori) at a past function in Kisumu

Cracks have emerged in the planning of the inaugural Nyanza International Investment Conference as six Governors from the region distanced themselves from the event.

Governors Anyang Nyong’o (Kisumu), Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay), James Orengo (Siaya), Simba Arati (Kisii), Ochilo Ayacko (Migori) and Amos Nyaribo (Nyamira) said they have not been involved in the preparations.

The conference organised by the Nyanza Professionals Forum is scheduled to take place in Kisumu on June 28-29, 2024.

In a signed statement to the media, the six governors said the organisers associated their names with the conference without prior communication to them.

“We strongly object to the Nyanza Professionals Forum unilateral decision to associate our names with this conference without prior official communication. Learning about the conference through media publications featuring our images without our consent is unacceptable,” they said.

The Governors said they had been listed as participants at the conference yet no formal briefing or invitation had been extended to them.

They asked the organisers to issue a public apology for exploiting their names and images to promote the conference without authorisation.

The Governors said they were not opposed to the conference but the political overtones surrounding the event were of great concern.

“As key players in the development and implementation of devolution in our counties we find it troubling that the governors are being sidelined in a conference discussing devolved functions. We caution against any attempts to undermine devolution through such actions,” read the statement in part.

The new twist deals a blow to the organisers who are banking on the conference to woo local and international investors.

However, Nyanza International Investment Conference Chairman Japh Olende said the planning of the event was participatory with all the six governors involved.

“We have involved all the stakeholders including the governors to ensure a comprehensive and inclusive approach to stimulating sustainable development in the region,” he said.

The Nyanza Professionals Forum, he said was apolitical and has been actively engaging the six governors and their senior representatives to brief them about the conference, its objectives and the expected outcomes.

Olende maintained that formal invitations had been sent and duly received by the six governors.

The conference to be opened by President Dr William Ruto, he said aims to discuss development priorities of the Nyanza region and align them with the County Integrated Development Plans.

The programme, he said has been designed to assign key roles to all the six governors as speakers and panelists.

“In the spirit of partnership we are willing and ready to re-engage with the governors to avoid any misunderstanding and ensure smooth collaboration as we embark on the final leg of the conference preparation,” he said.

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