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Rift Valley MPs fail to make a mark in Parliament

By MICHAEL WESONGA | October 6th 2013


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ELDORET, KENYA: More than six months after they were elected most Rift Valley legislatures are yet to break forth to demonstrate vibrancy on national matters as opposed to their adversarial predecessors.

The politically rich region with a history of producing very articulate and prolific leaders seems to have taken an abrupt vow of silence in the 11th Parliament. The leaders social political demeanor represents a shadowy reflection of the region’s former glorious past when it received ‘real’ representation from the likes of Deputy President William Ruto, Kericho Senator Charles Keter and President Uhuru Kenyatta’s political advisor Joshua Kutuny.

However, Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen argues that majority of the legislators are in government and, therefore, cannot engage in incessant wrangling as had been in the past.

“They are left with no option than to support government given that we now have a structured leadership that can be approached in secret to address pertinent concerns without necessarily making a public spectacle,” explains the Senator.

But the explanation notwithstanding, it is evident that former leaders from the region still made a hallmark in national politics besides serving in the ruling government.

Some observers believe the new crop of politicians, mostly first timers, are still learning the ropes in their new found life in public domain.

Former Kacheliba MP Samuel Poghisio, says they can do well if they consult experienced peers, but also notes that it is too soon to judge their performance. “The tyranny of number makes many good people to be quiet, I know most of them that have good qualities but are unable to bring out their best in debates,” he states.

The former Information minister says the MPs do not enjoy the same privileges they did when Parliament used to have question time and issuance of statements that thrust them in the limelight.

“There currently exist no direct answers from ministers as most issues are sorted out quietly and thus weakening debates lest you are considered deviant. There is a lot of protectionism in the new parliamentary structure that is short of opportunities.

“They are still experimenting on how to make their decisions on whether to keep on their support or deviate from the norm and should be given at least the end of the year,” he says.

Mr Poghisio however believes the MPs can discover other avenues to make their presence felt to distinguish themselves.

Former East Africa Community minister Musa Sirma says MPs in government tend to be loyalists.  “Ruto is a Jubilee luminary and therefore the MPs are careful not to rub him wrong so as to acquire favours,” he says.

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