Clan rivalry blamed on Narok County wrangles

By Kipchumba Kemei

NAIROBI, KENYA: Plans to remove the Narok County governor Samuel Kuntai from office has heightened clan rivalry in the region with members of his minority Siria clan defending him saying he was fit to hold public office.

They said on Thursday claims by members of the populous Purko clan that he was unfit because of conflict of interest was unfounded and part of a bigger plan to ensure minority Masai clans do not hold influential office.  

A human rights group, Trusted Society for Human Rights Alliance, want the Kuntai to be removed from office, claiming that he is still a director and a majority shareholder of The Mara Conservancy, a company that manages a section of 1,510 km2 Masai Mara National Reserve, The Mara Triangle.

The group which has started collecting 150, 000 signatures from voters in the county, a process they think will lead to his removal, further claims that the governor had in the past acquired a parcel of land in Transmara in a questionable manner and has hired his friends and relatives to work for the County government.

“Members of the Purko clan who are behind the human rights group are unhappy and are yet to come to terms that a member of a minority clan who was democratically elected is now a governor.  It is also part of a plan to pre-empt the outcome of a petition challenging his election,” said Ben Kipeno, a Siria clan elder.

Kipeno who was accompanied by 100 members of the clan at a news conference in Narok town, said the dominant clan which has since independence occupied important positions in Masai land should come to terms that the era of boardroom elections was over and it should now embrace popular way of choosing leaders.

“During the time when the councils were under Local Government Ministry, members of the dominant clan used to take all influential seats in boardroom elections. They should now stop grumbling because a new system protects the right of all clans and communities in place,” said Kipeno.