Governor Barchok settles on Speaker Rotich as deputy despite calls to name woman

Bomet Speaker David Rotich at the assembly. He has been nominated by Governor Hillary Barchok to fill the position of the deputy governor. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]
Bomet Governor Hilary Barchok has gone against the expectation of many by picking County Speaker David Rotich as his deputy.

During his swearing-in to take over from the late Governor Joyce Laboso, leaders including the Council of Governors had appealed to Dr Barchok to appoint a woman to the position in honor of the late Laboso.

In a message delivered through Narok Governor Samuel Tunai, the council expressed its wish to Barchok saying he should be deputised by a woman for the remainder of his term.

“It is the wish and request of the council that you pick a female deputy in honour of the late Governor Laboso, and also to support and push for gender parity in the country,” read the message.

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But on Tuesday, Barchok forwarded the name of Rotich to the assembly alongside other appointees to various positions at the executive.

He also nominated Eng Alex Ngeno to take over as the chairperson of the public service board.

 Patrick Maritim has been picked to fill the position of county executive committee member for Administration and ICT and Emily Chelangat Seroney to the Social Service, Youth and sports CEC.

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The move forced the Speaker to disqualify himself from presiding over the session.

The session was delayed as the Deputy Speaker Wesley Kiprotich prepared to take over the session.

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Rotich is set to appear before the Assembly committee on Appointments for vetting.

The committee has seven days to report its findings to the House for debate and approval.

The nomination of Rotich immediately sparked a heated debate with some Members of the County Assembly expressing anger over the move.

Embomos MCA Robert Serbai termed the nomination a row deal for the county.

Serbai said the nomination failed to consider regional balance saying Konoin sub-county was yet to benefit from the current regime.

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“It is sad for us in Konoin we have nothing to celebrate. So far we have only one CEC and two chief officers while other sub-counties are enjoying up to five COs,” said the MCA.

However, Singorwet MCA Alfred Langat said the nomination has come on time to settle rising tension and anxiety.

Leader of Majority Josphat Kirui said the MCAs were ready to approve Rotich for the position.

Kirui assured women that their issues will be taken care of despite earlier calls to nominate a woman to take up the position.

“We can assure women that their issues will be given priority to compensate the plea for a woman,” said Kirui.

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Leader of Minority Andrew Maritim said the nomination of Rotich will be a unifying factor.

Jubilee party chairman Bernard Mutai also welcomed the appointment saying he was up to the task.

Mutai said Rotich had amassed enough experience to take up the position.

“We are happy as a party that the Governor has returned the seat to Sotik where the late governor hailed from,” said Mutai.

Among those who were being touted for nomination to take up the position are Former Chepalungu MP Paul Bii, Education CEC Juliana Yegon and former Women Rep Cecilia Ngetich.

Rotich is a former Jubilee secretary general in Bomet County.

Nominated MCA Cecilia Mutai said as women they expected a woman but they have no option but to accept.

“It is the prerogative of the Governor to pick anyone for the position and we have no choice but to accept,” said Mutai.

Mutai at the same time petitioned the Governor to increase the number of women being appointed by his administration as compensation.

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BometHilary BarchokCounty Speaker David Rotich