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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 21 September 2014

GOVERNOR, MPs BOYCOTT URP MEETING AS PARTY SUPPORTERS REMAIN AT CROSSROADS



Nandi governor Cleophas Lagat together with five MPs from the county skipped United Republican Party meeting that was eagerly awaited to announce a common stance on the referendum debate. The party’s national executive officer David Koech was at pains when asked to explain the resolutions of the meeting which was held at the party’s office at Namgoi trading centre in Kapsabet town.

 He claimed the party was concerned about divergent views by elected members and was seeking ways of making leaders speak in one voice particularly during this time of the referendum debate.

The party’s county chairman Sammy Choge said that the party will convene and agree at an opportune time and provide a clear stand on the referendum debate after the meeting ended in disarray. The meeting was attended by only two MPs and Senator Stephen Sang.
A press briefing was cut short by residents who demanded to know the immediate position of the county office on the referendum amid shouts from supporters of Governor Lagat who protested that they wanted pesa mashinani.

The recent announcement by the governor in support of pesa mashinani has complicated URP groundwork for the referendum in the county given that the county is purely the party’s stronghold and Deputy President William Ruto’s bastion. The governor commanded attention when he announced his support for the referendum which a majority of voters have construed to mean an onslaught on the government they consider themselves inside.

 The meeting came in the wake of information that elders and party supporters had prevailed upon him to abandon his support for pesa mashinani and return home to the URP bandwagon which is advocating against the vote. Despite fighting for increased funding to counties by the national government, he has received tongue lashing from a section of the public who have little information on the pesa mashinani concept and who are accusing him of working with enemies to wreck and break their government.

Since his announcement in support of the referendum, elected leaders in the county have camped in the county telling voters to ask the governor to pinpoint any tangible project he had initiated upon taking leadership 18 months ago. Deputy governor Dominic Biwott has been spared of the missiles directed at his boss partly because he was among the first leaders from the county to plainly say no to the referendum debate but when the people saw him accompany the governor when he announced his support for referendum, people understood why.  “A county governor plays integral part in spearheading party policies and propagating party position on national matters but when he stands at the opposite side, matters get complicated,” noted a resident.

A leader, who has been noted saying that governors who are supporting pesa mashinani drive are facing financial accountability problems, has been seen more than two times with agriculture cabinet secretary who is being fronted by some elements to replace Governor Lagat in 2017.

The cabinet secretary has been seen more than three times hosting local county assembly members besides most of them making several appearances in his office. An  unwavering supporter of the governor who has vowed to aggressively participate in pesa mashinani drive wrote the following on his face book page: “I voted for yes in 2005, I voted yes in 2010 and I will vote yes for pesa mashinani”.

As things stand and as the governor soldiers on with the campaign, most residents do not seem to appreciate the benefits of pesa mashinani advocacy to the county. They know one thing; the referendum is some sort of no confidence in the government and must be rejected.