Why Governor Sang and Senator Cherargey do not see eye to eye

Governor Stephen Sang

Embarrassing public clashes between Governor Stephen Sang and Senator Kiprotich Cherargei over the administration of the county have dragged on for about six months with no signs of a truce.

The public spats have left residents fearing that their leaders’ behaviour is jeopardising development projects in the North Rift county.

A number of MPs have also weighed in on the matter and are urging the two leaders to bury the hatchet.

According to Mr Cherargei, the genesis of the clash is rampant corruption. He claimed the county boss condoned procurement malpractices.

The senator also listed flawed and unfair appointment processes, accusing Mr Sang of nepotism and favouritism in public appointments.

Safeguard resources

“I am doing my work as a senator to safeguard the resources of this county. Sang has been condoning out-of-hand corruption within his administration which has led to losses of over Sh500 million from the county coffers through procurement malpractices,” said Cherargei during a fundraiser at Stephen Kositany Girls Secondary School in Mosop earlier in the month.

But according to Sang, the senator had been blackmailing him into giving into demands that included controlling half of all available jobs and resources.

“The majority of Nandi residents are in possession of an audio (clip) where Senator Cherargei demanded control of 50 per cent of all county tenders and jobs,” claimed Sang during a public participation meeting for EPZ projects in Kibigomg market in Chemase ward at the beginning of the month.

“The constant public criticism of my administration is just a malicious attempt to arm-twist me into giving into his obscene demands.”

But the senator dismissed the audio clip as fake and instead pointed to the recent purchase of 18 tipper lorries, alleging that each vehicle was bought at an inflated cost of Sh15 million.

“The county lost over Sh250 million in the inflated procurement and acquisition of tipper trucks,” claimed Cherargei.

In response, Sang called a media briefing to provide documentation of the procurement of the lorries at Sh8.5 million each.

Cherargei also complained of missing bursary funds, but Sang moved quickly to disburse bursaries worth Sh60 million to secondary, university and tertiary institutions. He blamed any delays on the National Treasury.

In the latest incident, the senator accused the governor of employing “slay queens” at the expense of qualified personnel. He made the accusation in Sang’s presence during the Mosop fundraiser.

But the governor hit back, terming the allegations childish.

“When a child burps, you do not break your journey. You wipe your clothes and proceed with the journey,” he said.

Signs of the bad blood between the two leaders first came to light during last year’s Jamhuri Day celebrations when the senator accused Members of the County Assembly of being puppets of the county executive. The governor responded by accusing Cherargei of holding night meetings with the MCAs to undermine him.

Terse statement

In an attempt to reconcile the two leaders, MPs issued a terse statement asking them to end their differences.

Chesumei MP Wilson Kogo and his Mosop counterpart Vincent Tuwei said it was unacceptable and irresponsible of Sang and Cherargey to clash publicly, warning that it could affect development.

“It is getting out of hand. Nandi residents have been divided into two factions in support of the two leaders, who have almost succeeded in diverting attention from the development agenda,” said Mr Kogo.

Cherargei has dismissed the reconciliation attempts, saying he is not ready to condone corruption.

But Sang said his administration was keen on uniting all leaders for the sake of development and called on Cherargei to stop frustrating his efforts to ensure the smooth provision of services.

“I take issue with the lack of sobriety on the part of my senator, who has engaged in personalised attacks on my character and my administration’s commitment to deliver on its development agenda,” said the governor.