Airstrip construction launch sent on tailspin

The battle between governor Paul Chepkwony and Belgut Member of Parliament (MP) Nelson Koech over the construction of the Sh100M Kerenga airstrip has led to last minute cancellation of the much hyped launch.

Koech, in whose constituency the project is located wrote to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) over the alleged flawed tendering process awarded to Jemoraran Construction Company.

EACC communication officer Yasin Amaro, disclosed that that governor Chepkwony was summoned and recorded a statement at the EACC headquarters in Nairobi on Tuesday over the controversial project.

And yesterday, the county government through a brief statement released by Timothy Kemei, the Communication Officer, announced that the launch had been postponed indefinitely.

“Notice is hereby issued that the launch of the Kerenga airstrip upgrade has been postponed due to unforeseen circumstances,” read the statement.

But in a quick rejoinder, Koech reminded governor Chepkwony to focus on projects within the county governments’ mandate.

“The governor should take cue from the national government which has suspended the implementation of projects which had been earmarked for rolling out but are not a priority at the moment,” he said.

The Belgut MP added that it was hypocritical of the county government to shift focus to the aviation industry whereas projects such as the Roret pineapple, Kiptere sweet potatoes, Chebulu conservation projects which would have been boosted by the airstrip construction had stalled.

“Kericho county government should stop placing the cart before the horse. Let them for instance show us even a single successful project in the county before they can shift into lofty projects meant to massage the governor’s ego,” said Koech.

The governor also came under stinging criticism from Members of County Assembly (MCAs) led by Kapsoit ward representative Paul Tarimbo Chirchir who pointed out that the airstrip expansion program was a national government function.

 “This is the reason why the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority and the Kenya Airports Authority do not take instructions from the county government nor any of their staff paid by the county government,” he said.

Chirchir, described governor Chepkwony’s term in office as marked by consistent poor economic policies and misplaced priorities.

Cheruiyot Bett, the Ainamoi ward representative told governor Chepkwony to focus on priority projects such as construction of roads, water, and healthcare service provision among other crucial projects.

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Paul ChepkwonyBelgutNelson KoechEthics and Anti-Corruption CommissionBelgut MPKenya Civil Aviation AuthorityKenya Airports Authority