Isaac Ruto’s ‘opponents’ allege harassment


Bomet, KENYA: Two weeks after a divisive Speaker’s election, confusion continues to mar Bomet County Assembly procedures after the House committees were reconstituted.

In a move that some county representatives see as a scheme by the executive to control the assembly, Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) who allegedly did not vote for the Speaker, Mr Geoffrey Kipngetich, and have been harsh critics of Governor Isaac Ruto, were replaced.

The controversial removal of Tegat County Representative Julius Korir as the majority leader and his subsequent replacement by Ndaraweta Ward Representative Josphat Kirui has also angered some MCAs.

Korir fell out of favour with the county leadership after he allegedly rallied other MCAs in opposing a candidate backed by the executive.

When contacted, Mr Korir termed his removal as unprocedural saying he had a letter from party headquarters that revoked the appointment.

“We do not know what is happening but it seems leaders seen to be against the county leadership are being intimidated,” he said.

Korir argued that the Bomet County Governor and URP Party Chairman Stephen Mutai did not have the powers to strip him of the position.

Korir claimed that his sacking was orchestrated by individuals out to punish him for his alleged closeness to the Deputy President William Ruto. The Governor and the Deputy President have publicly differed over devolution issues.

The Bomet Governor, who doubles up as the Governor’s Summit Chairman,  has been pushing for a constitutional referendum, which the Deputy President has dismissed as unnecessary.

In an interview, however, the Governor denied having a hand in Korir’s removal and said the decision was taken by the party organs. The Speaker revealed that he had received two contradicting letters from the county party office and the URP head office.

Way forward

Kipng’etich said the letter from the county office signed by  the branch’s URP party secretary stated that Korir, and the chief whip, had been stripped of their positions and replaced with Kirui. “I got the letter on August 21 and the role of the Speaker is just to communicate, which I did,” he said.

He said on Monday he received another letter signed by the URP National Secretary General reinstating the two and was yet to establish the way forward.  “When I received the first letter, I communicated its contents but I have just received this other one and I am yet to act on it because we need to know first if it is genuine,” said the Speaker.