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Peasant farmers protest as their goats are rejected at event presided over by Deputy President William Ruto

By Vincent Mabatuk | Published Sun, December 18th 2016 at 00:00, Updated December 17th 2016 at 21:15 GMT +3
Farmers turned away with their goats during Baringo Goat Auction and Cultural Festival at Kimalel, Baringo County on December 17,2016. [PHOTO:KIPSANG JOSEPH]

Farmers who attended yesterday's Kimalel goat auction accused its organisers of rejecting animals supplied by peasants in preference for those supplied by politically-connected individuals.

They said the popular event presided over by Deputy President William Ruto had lost meaning to farmers, many who had to return home with 650 goats that were rejected.

The DP declared that 2,326 goats were auctioned in the event that is held annually and has acquired a symbolic significance for local people over the years.

Joseph Bowen, a Bartabwa farmer accused the county administration of ensuring that goats supplied by peasant farmers were not offered for the auction.

"These are the legitimate Baringo farmers; the goats sold today belong to brokers and the rich,'' said Mr Bowen.

Barwesa MCA Joseph Makilab described the incident as unfortunate.   "This is unusual; the Kanu regime never conducted such a sham auction, said Mr Makilab, in reference to the years in which the function was presided over by former President Daniel arap Moi.

"The auction is no longer about peasant farmers but cartels,'' said the ward representative.

Yesterday DP Ruto accused the media of reporting that  his close  associates had taken goats for free during last year's auction.

The DP set the minimum auction price at Sh12,000 per goat for those buying 50 or more goats. Those who were buying less than 50  goats paid no less than Sh15,000 per goat.

"Some people reported that goats were never paid for. I need my receipt so that I can produce it elsewhere should issues arise,'' said the Deputy President.

It was estimated that farmers from the region may have  received as much as Sh28 million from the sale of their goats

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy paid Sh7.38 million for 616 goats while other goats were  purchased by politicians, civil servants and businessmen. The objective of the event is to provide farmers with a market for their goats preceding the Christmas period.

Yesterday's auction was largely attended  by Jubilee leaders, among them Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen.

Yesterday, Murkomen bought 100 goats for Sh1.2 million and paid for them on the spot.

Murkomen later accused CORD leader Raila Odinga scheming to create a crisis so that the Opposition are accorded an opportunity to share power with Jubilee.

At the same time, Kericho Senator Aron Cheruiyot accused  CORD of working to ensure that the  General Election was not held next year.

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