Deputy President William Ruto cornered as locals demand school bus, roads

Eldama Ravine MP Moses Lessonet inspect banners ahead of a fundraising at Sigoro Secondary School. The residents confronted Deputy President William Ruto with banners demanding for development when he toured the area for the fundraising. (PHOTO: KIPSANG JOSEPH/ STANDARD)

There was drama in Sigoro village, Baringo County, when residents put Deputy President William Ruto under pressure to buy a bus for a local school.

Mr Ruto had been invited to help raise funds for the purchase of a school bus for Sigoro Secondary School on Sunday.

However, the villagers said the DP should be the one to buy the bus and at the same time ensure that local roads were improved and new ones built.

The residents, led by Eldama Ravine MP Mosses Lessonet, said even though they had organised the fundraiser to buy the bus, their contributions would used to buy fuel and take care of insurance costs. 

Reports had it that the fundraiser was planned for the express purpose of buying a bus. However, organisers reportedly changed the plan midway and claimed they wanted to raise money to buy an insurance cover and fuel, and that the Deputy President should be the one to buy the bus.

"Thank you for agreeing to come. We trust that with your generosity, this school will get a bus today. Play your part and leave the matter of votes to me," said Mr Lessonet. 

Placard-waving women singing traditional songs told the DP to order the construction of roads in the region as he had done elsewhere.

Ruto was told of many women who had died on the way to hospital as vehicles get stuck or break down on the poor roads.

When he stood to speak, Ruto, who looked cornered, told Lessonet to properly present the challenges residents faced to his Nairobi office.

Ruto also told residents to complement Government efforts by playing their part.

"I thought we came here to collect funds to buy the school a bus. However, because you have changed your tune, bring what you have and I will buy the bus myself," Ruto said before contributing Sh2 million. 

The DP told Lessonet to pick Sh3 million from him for the construction of classrooms after the school management complained that the limited facilities were in deplorable condition.

"It is wrong for students to study in timber structures. The Government is determined to improve the facilities," said Ruto. "From tomorrow, I expect three names of graduate teachers from this region in my office for employment and I direct your MP to ensure that this is done."

Earlier, the residents confronted the DP over perceived Government discrimination in initiating development projects in the region.

They gave the DP a long list of projects they wanted to see the Government initiate in the region, including improvement of roads. The villagers also want the Government to address the shortage of classrooms and teachers in local schools.

Ruto, who was in the company of Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria and Gichugu MP Njogu Barua, promised to intervene.

"Since time immemorial, dilapidated roads have been a major problem for residents of this area. We are tired of singing the same song. And since you came by air, it means you have not experienced our troubles," said Lembus Kwen MCA Cyrus Kibii.

Mr Kibii said the region had been neglected by successive governments despite the fact that it was the main producer of maize in the county.

He asked the DP to order construction of at least 30km of road.