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Governor Laboso’s acid test as rivals take aim

By Steve Mkawale and Gilbert Kimutai | October 28th 2018
Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso when she appeared to answer on audit queries before the Senate Public Accounts Committee at Parliament. [Boniface Okendo/Standard]

Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso won the hearts of voters in the last General Election, ousting former county chief Isaac Ruto.

But Laboso, who made history as one of the first three female governors in the country, is literally under siege.

A walkout protest by Bomet MPs during a recent visit by President Uhuru Kenyatta against her for failing to recognise them exposed her soft political underbelly.

For months, there has been a simmering political tension between the governor and the seven MPs.

The lawmakers feel the governor is out of touch with issues affecting residents and that she is least concerned about the plight of the people, especially families evicted from the Mau Forest complex.

The legislators accuse the governor of ignoring them and working alone.

According to Bomet Central MP Ronald Tonui who led the walk out after being denied a chance to speak, the silent rebellion started soon after Laboso took office.

Early this year, Laboso’s supporters and those of Tonui clashed at Bomet Green Stadium after the MP openly opposed the governor’s move to sack more than 4,000 county staff hired on contract.

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Last month, all elected leaders from the county snubbed Laboso’s ceremony to mark one year in office, leaving only nominated MCAs to attend. The MCAs had differed with Laboso over ward development fund kitty, which the governor refused to implement.

Despite all the challenges, however, Governor Laboso has put up a brave face and reached out to some MCAs who she now uses to fight her political wars against MPs.

Majority Leader Josphat Kirui and Speaker Shadrack Rotich have come out guns blazing to defend Laboso.

They now accuse the MPs and senator of being petty and trying to undermine the governor.

They described the recent walkout by the lawmakers as juvenile, saying the MPs wanted to paint Laboso in bad light.

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