Baringo residents demo against William Ruto as political supremacy battle escalates
By Mercy Kahenda and Patrick Kibet | January 23rd 2017
A number of Baringo residents have accused Deputy President William Ruto of trying to impose leaders on them during his tours of the county.
This comes in the wake of a hostile reception accorded to area Members of Parliament allied to Mr Ruto at the weekend.
Baringo North MP William Cheptumo, Woman Representative Grace Kiptui and Baringo Central MP Sammy Mwaita were booed by angry residents in front of the DP during a tour of the county.
The legislators, who have been Ruto's key allies in the region, were forced to cut short their speeches as residents openly expressed their displeasure in Kabartonjo and Kabarnet.
Yesterday, a group of residents joined the public protests at Kabel trading centre in Baringo South, accusing the Jubilee government of failing to develop the region despite receiving massive support in the 2013 elections.
The angry residents barricaded the Karandi-Mochongoi-Marigat road, which they said Ruto had promised to tarmac during campaigns.
Led by human rights activist Kipruto Kimosop, the protestors faulted the government for failing to initiate a development agenda in the area, saying this had created voter apathy witnessed by a poor turn-out during the ongoing voter registration.
Mr Kimosop, who is also a Jubilee Party election hopeful, said he had been trying to mobilise youths and women to register but the majority claimed they had no reason to support the Government in the August 8 polls.
"I am vying on a Jubilee ticket but it is very hard to market the party because locals claim the Government has sidelined them in terms of development," said Kimosop.
The DP was further criticised for belittling Baringo Senator Gideon Moi during his tour.
Joseph Cheroitich, a resident, said Ruto should allow locals to vote for leaders of their choice. On several occasions, the DP has been pleading with locals to vote for Jubilee Party aspirants.
"The Deputy President should stop forcing us to vote for individuals of his choice. We understand our challenges and we should be allowed to vote for the people we want," he said.
They accused Ruto of reneging on his pledge to combat cattle rustling in the area, saying the raids had disrupted voter registration.
Areas hardest hit by cattle rustling include Arabal, Mukutani, Rugus and Noosukuro locations in Baringo South sub-county.
There have been reports that the Government deployed an assistant county commissioner to Mukutani to restore security but he has not reported.
Jackson Tarus, the Mochongoi ward MCA, said scores of residents displaced by insecurity were currently camped at Kabel trading centre and had no national identification cards to enable them to register as voters.
"People are reluctant to register because of insecurity and the majority do not even have identification cards," he said.
The MCA, who was elected on a United Republican Party, said he was opting to defend his seat on a Kanu ticket because Jubilee Party lacked a development agenda for his people.
"Our children are at home because we fear they might be attacked and killed by livestock raiders. Why should we defend a government that is not protecting its people or property?" posed the MCA.
Kanu is planning to field candidates for various elective positions in the area in the August 8 elections.
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