South Rift leaders differ over location of referral hospital

A section of Bomet County leaders during the homecoming party of Bomet Central MP Richard Kilel at Manyatta Primary School in Bomet central. [Gilbert Kimutai, Standard]

A row has erupted between elected leaders in Bomet and Kericho counties over the location of a proposed referral hospital to cater for South Rift region.

On Wednesday, leaders drawn from the two counties failed to agree after those in Bomet pushed for the facility to be established at a central place, while their Kericho counterparts preferred it to be located in Londiani sub-county.

Kericho senator Aaron Cheruiyot said there is enough space in Londiani for the multi-million facility, which will be funded by the national government.

Cheruiyot said Bomet leaders should be satisfied with the Sh100 billion ICT hub which is proposed to be established in Mulot area to tap local talents and help fight cybercrime in the county.

"We have agreed and we will support Bomet to host the ICT hub in Mulot and they should also support us to have the regional hospital built in Londiani," insisted Cheruiyot.

However, Bomet leaders argued that the location proposed by their Kericho counterpart was not accessible to people from their county.

Led by Governor Hillary Barchok, Bomet leaders insisted on a public participation process to seek consensus from residents on where to establish the hospital.

"Londiani is not acceptable for all. They should not force us to agree on a location that will disenfranchise some people in the region. Londiani is not convenient and a new central location that is easily accessed by all should be suggested," said Barchok.

Barchok was speaking during the homecoming ceremony of Bomet Central MP Richard Kilel at Manya Primary school, where he said the opinion of residents from the neighbouring Narok county should also be taken into consideration while choosing a location.

Mr Kilel in his speech said a regional facility of that magnitude should be located at a central place.

"South Rift is not Kericho alone; it goes all the way to Kajiado, Narok and parts of Nakuru," he said.

Kilel further noted that Kapkatet is a central location and the Kapkatet Level Four Hospital should be expanded and upgraded to referral status.

During his recent tour of Bomet county, President William Ruto announced that the proposed referral hospital will supplement services offered by regional facilities and also serve as a cancer research hub.