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Deputy President William Ruto faces fresh rebellion in Rift Valley backyard

Deputy President William Ruto braved a political storm in Baringo County yesterday when residents protested against loss of top public service jobs and unfulfilled promises by the Jubilee administration.

As Ruto visited Tangulbei, Barwesa and Marigat, hundreds of residents converged for demonstrations in Kabartonjo, Baringo North, to protest what they termed neglect and oppression by the Jubilee administration, which the community voted for almost to a man in the 2013 elections.

Police, led by Baringo North OCPD Chemunges Ndiema said the demonstrations were illegal, but demonstrators said they had notified the law enforcers. Police barricaded the Kipsaraman-Kabartonjo road to block demonstrators from accessing the town where they were to assemble at noon. Some youths were arrested but later freed.

The residents accused the Jubilee administration of neglecting the region by giving promises which have not been fulfilled, failing to tackle insecurity and continued purge of senior civil servants from the community.

But Ruto steered clear of the controversies in his visit and instead chose to drum up support for the Jubilee government, enumerating various development projects undertaken.

Speaking at Tangulbei, his first stop, the Deputy President asked residents to support the government so that they benefit more.

Government appointments

“The government has done a lot in the region which include drilling boreholes and tarmacking the Loruk-Barpello road. I wonder what you are doing in the other party which is not even sure where it stands,” he said.

Residents were particularly angered by the replacement of former Acting Kenya Airports Authority Managing Director Kangugo Yatich last Monday with a Norwegian national Johnny Andersen. Kangugo had been acting in the position for more than a year.

Kangugo’s removal followed the sacking of former Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo as KAA Chairman. Kimaiyo was replaced by former Chief of Kenya Defence Forces General (Rtd) Julius Karangi.

“We are angered that the Jubilee administration treats public servants from one region unfairly. We cannot continue saying we are in government when people from the region are being kicked out of office and no one is speaking for them,” said former nominated Senator Harold Kipchumba.

Mr Kipchumba claimed since Jubilee took over, there has been a consistent trend where one wing of the coalition gets an upper hand in government appointments.

He alleged that all top public servants who have served in acting capacities from Rift Valley have never been confirmed but other individuals brought in to take up the positions. Among those who served in acting capacity but were not confirmed to the positions are former acting Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) Director General Joseph Kiptoo who was replaced by Captain Gilbert Kibe and Linus Tanui, former acting Director General of the Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha) replaced by Peter Mundinia.

Others, who the residents alleged had lost their lucrative posts include Harun Komen, who was Commissioner for Refugee Council, Dr Philemon Chebon, who was chair of the Kenya Technical Trainers College and Vincent Kimosop, who was chairman of Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (UFAA).

“We are only flower girls in this government despite occupying the Deputy President’s slot. We demand that professionals from the region be respected. How come individuals from Central Kenya who have occupied positions in acting capacities are confirmed while ours become incompetent all of a sudden and are replaced?” posed Kipchumba.

He added: “We condemn the government that operates on deals and tribalism. It is unfair to the country.”

Eric Bett, a former director at Postal Corporation of Kenya, said Rift Valley residents were deeply disturbed at the developments in the Jubilee administration.

“Something is not right despite having the second in command. Despite being taken through six interviews and rated among the best, the current board listed Kangugo the second last candidate,’’ said Bett.

He also questioned the decision to send home all board members at KAA, saying the controversial dissolution of the board allowed for the manipulation of the recruitment process.

Rampant insecurity

“Kangugo, who is from Baringo North, managed the airport during visits by top world leaders including US President Barack Obama. Unfortunately, he had to give way because of where he comes from,” he said.

But the Deputy President promised residents that the government will set aside Sh300m for the survey of Loruk-Churo-Muge road in the next one month and also speed up the completion of Chemolingot Government Training School which has taken years to be completed.

He said the Oinobmoi-Barwessa-Kolowa road will also be allocated money. Residents recently demonstrated against the poor state of this road. The DP said another sub-county will be created in the area to tackle insecurity.

“We will have an additional deputy commissioner in the area to handle rampant insecurity,” he said.

Other issues raised by the region include the establishment of a public university at Chemeron in Marigat sub-county.

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