Slain ex-MCA beat URP in its own turf

Purity Kiptire widow of Senator Kipchumba Murkomen's County Liaison Officer Benson Kiptire, is consoled by her family members in Eldoret. Kiptire was on Friday kidnapped before his body was discovered dumped in Kamatira forest in West Pokot County. [Kevin Tunoi, Standard]

The slain former Kapyego ward rep Benson Kiptire waded the stormy United Republican Party (URP) waters to clinch the seat in 2013 elections on a Kanu ticket.

Kiptire’s body was on Saturday found in Kamatira Forest in West Pokot County a day after he was kidnapped at his home.

Police are still struggling to find the killers of the politician.

Despite well-oiled campaigns mounted by defunct URP party, Kiptire proved too smart and audacious and emerged victorious. He was a pastor and a chaplain at Chebara Boys High School in Marakwet West Constituency.

In the 2013 elections, the Jubilee Alliance swept clean all the seats up for grabs in the region, save for Kiptire’s ward, Emsoo and Embout, where Kanu reigned.

It is at the Elgeyo Marakwet County Assembly that Kiptire’s leadership star stood out as he was elected minority leader and subsequently went on to chair the assembly’s Administration, Legal and Public Service committee.

He used his position to champion peaceful coexistence between the warring Pokot and Marakwet communities, and through his efforts, several schools were established at the border of the two rivaling people.

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But what stood out was his vicious struggle to have the Chebororwa Agricultural Farmers Training Centre management returned to Elgeyo Marakwet County.

Uasin Gishu and Elgeyo Marakwet Counties had been tussling over the institution after the defunct Transitional Authority (TA) said it would be managed by the former.

Kiptire led other MCAs in castigation then Higher Education Minister and now Uasin Gishu senator Margaret Kamar for allegedly transferring the training centre to Uasin Gishu County.

He even dared Prof Kamar to tender her resignation as Elgeyo Marakwet County Education Board chairperson over her alleged role in transferring the contested institute’s “location”.

After losing the Uasin Gishu gubernatorial post in 2013, Kamar was appointed to the Elgeyo Marakwet education board.

The college sits on 2,500 acres preferable for agriculture.

“When we recently questioned her whether she authorised the transfer of Chebororwa to Uasin Gishu during her tenure as a minister, she denied before my committee. Interestingly, we are in possession of a letter she corresponded with the Ministry of Agriculture authorising the transfer,” stated Kiptire in the Assembly then.

Kiptire said the letter from her previous ministry had been written on April 18, 2011, fronting the transfer of administrative reporting to Uasin Gishu County.

“As the assembly, Prof Kamar has no moral authority based on the untrue statements she gave to the committee. It will then be prudent for her to leave office,” he said

“The land that makes up ATC was transferred to the neighbouring county without our consent, yet it was ours during the colonial era,” he added.

Kiptire’s advocacy for prudent use of public funds saw former Elgeyo Marakwet assembly Speaker Albert Kochei charged in an anti-corruption court, though he was later cleared.

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Benson Kiptire