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Stalled projects shape Nandi governor race

By Titus Too - Jun 17th 2022
Former Nandi Governor Cleophas Lagat (right), congratulates his successor Stephen Sang on June 16, 2017. [File, Standard]

Multi-million projects started during the first term of devolution but were reportedly abandoned by the current administration have taken centre stage in campaigns for the governor position in Nandi County, just 52 days to the August elections.

Former governor Cleophas Lagat has said he was hoping his successor Stephen Sang would complete the projects when he took over so as to benefit residents, but he did not.

While Sang has said it was Langat’s failure that the projects were not completed, the former governor responded by saying he did not have enough time to complete them.

He also said that he was hoping the current governor would complete them so that the millions of public funds that had been pumped in would not go to waste.

“The failure of the current administration to complete mega projects I initiated between 2013 and 2017 denied residents of Nandi a chance to enjoy them.

It also meant that the money we had put into them would likely be wasted. The projects stalled despite the fact that they had been allocated funds,” said Dr Lagat.

The former county chief is making an attempt to recapture the seat as an independent candidate after losing to Sang during the United Democratic Alliance primaries.

Three other independent candidates - Nicholas Koech Tirop, Anderson Serem, and Peter Maiyo - are also vying for the seat. 

“The abandoned projects include the new Nandi County headquarters, Kipchoge Keino Stadium, several water projects, Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres, and several vocational training centres.

“The current governor overlooked them just because I am the one who initiated them. He didn’t think of how they would benefit residents,” said Lagat, who is seen to be Sang’s main rival. 

Lagat told The Standard on Thursday he is hoping to win the race so he can ensure all the projects he started are completed to save public funds.

“There are so many projects I started but stalled when I left office. They are all over the place and everyone can see them,” said Lagat.

“They will be condemned in a few years if something is not done about them now. I am seeking re-election to ensure I conclude all development projects, including those initiated by Sang, if any,” he added.

He claimed that at the time he left office, the county coffers had Sh791 million for the payment of outstanding bills which included payments relating to the stalled projects.

“There was another Sh13 million for bursaries which were misdirected and some misused,” he said.

But a top official in Sang’s administration, who requested not to be quoted, said some of the projects the current government inherited lacked clear documentation.

“Those projects that were inherited by Sang and had good documentation have already been completed and are functional. Those that had audit queries, including documentation and valuation, have delayed,” said the official. 

He said that the county headquarters project had issues that have since been resolved.

“The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Auditor General have now approved it and the contractor is on the site working. The project is in its final stages,” he said. 

Speaking recently at Bishop Muge Training Institute in Kapsabet after being cleared by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to contest, Sang dismissed Lagat’s claims and expressed confidence he will win the showdown.

Sang claimed that when he succeeded Lagat, he found no functional systems in the county because Lagat ‘failed to establish a strong foundation while in office.’ 

The governor claimed it took him more than six months to put in place structures to ensure residents accessed quality services that guaranteed value for money even as he called on residents to give him a second term.

Upon his clearance by the electoral commission, Lagat took a swipe at Sang accusing him of victimising staff hired during his administration.

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