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Reinstate Koskei and Chirchir, Rift Valley leaders tell President Uhuru

POLITICS
By Titus Too and Rael Jelimo | July 15th 2015
Felix Koskei

United Republican Party (URP) leaders in the Rift Valley want President Uhuru Kenyatta to reinstate top government officials from the region who have been cleared of graft allegations.

Senator Stephen Sang and legislators Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills), Cornelly Serem (Aldai) and William Kisang (Marakwet West) questioned why Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Felix Koskei and his Energy counterpart Davis Chirchir were still in the cold.

They said not only had President Kenyatta’s 60-day window period for completion of investigations elapsed, but some of the accused had been cleared of allegations against them.

“Koskei was cleared about a month ago and should have been reinstated by now. We are now reading politics over this delay,” Keter said.

Speaking to The Standard on phone yesterday, Keter said agriculture is a key ministry that cannot be effectively handled on an acting capacity for more than three months.

“Koskei has been cleared, what are they waiting for before reinstating him? He should be reinstated or we reconsider our stand in the coalition. Farmers are crying on issues of inputs and prices for their commodities. There is need for a full-time minister to oversee all sub-sectors including cereals, sugar, tea and coffee,” he said.

SHORT CHANGE

Using an analogy of a warthog, Keter claimed that there is a scheme to short-change URP politically by failing to reinstate Koskei.

“When a warthog is hunted from a maize field to avoid destruction and the hunter pursues it even when it is out of the plantation, the intention becomes something else and not maize destruction,” he said.

The MP also questioned why Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru is “sitting in her office when there are corruption allegations in her department”.

Senator Sang faulted the manner in which the Government had led the fight against graft, saying the list of shame was not fair to many public officials who “had been sent home without tangible proof of corruption”.

“That list of shame was faulty and unfair from the start, no public official was supposed to be suspended or publicly maligned without prior conclusive investigations,” Sang said.

Aldai legislator Serem also asked Uhuru to “keep his word” and reinstate all cleared officials whom he said were being unfairly kept away from their offices and jobs.

“It is now about 100 days since these public officials were suspended, some have already been cleared, why are they still at home?” he asked.

Serem questioned the wisdom behind keeping ministries without proper leadership, saying substitutes of the suspended CSs are incapable of efficiently filling in for their absent counterparts.

“Ministries are strained in terms of proper leadership. You cannot have a CS in charge of a demanding docket like industrialisation also expected to run a second equally demanding ministry like agriculture. Service delivery is being unnecessarily compromised while capable CSs are sitting at home,” Serem said.

Marakwet West legislator Kisang said farmers are suffering as a result of Koskei’s absence.

FARMERS’ CHALLENGES

“Agriculture should not stay without a substantive CS. Farmers are facing challenges and Koskei should be reinstated so he can address them,” he said.

The legislators were, however, castigated by a section of Nandi MCAs, who accused them of defending Devolution CS Waiguru and ignoring the plight of Koskei and Chirchir.

“We blame Rift Valley MPs for their silence on this matter yet they are busy defending Waiguru. We now take it upon ourselves to ask the President to reinstate all cleared officials,” they said.

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