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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Ruto, Moi family battles engulf Baringo county

Power struggle between Baringo county MCAs and Governor Benjamin Cheboi played out openly when 21 out of 48 reps boycotted the state of the county address at the assembly. The governor is said to have graced the occasion as the chief guest.
Cheboi has been embroiled inwrangles with MCAs since he was sworn in. The MCAs are accusing Cheboi of alleged corrupt practices and poor management style.
Cheboi threatened to teach the errand MCAs a lesson of their life after he found the assembly with only a handful of MCAs known to be loyal to him. The governor’s tribulations began with the suspension of county speaker William Kamket. Cheboi is said to have played a central role in the speaker’s troubles. The move has now divided the MCAs with one camp allied to the governor and the other to the speaker.
The speaker was suspended and is battling it out in court to clear his name. As a result, MCAs allied to him have vowed to paralyse the county assembly operations until Kamket is cleared.
The two camps have been at loggerheads with each accusing the other of corruption and failure to deliver services. During the address, a visibly worried Cheboi under intense heat admitted that there is bad blood between the executive and the legislature.
The governor in his 45-minute speech talked of his development agenda.
He talked of a 1,021-kilometre road network in the entire county using equipment and labour based services. He said nine footbridges across the county funded to the tune of Sh47 million had been done. However, his critics say Cheboi has been using the road construction networks to enrich himself and his cronies. A retarmacking of a road in Kabarnet that cost millions has been the talk among locals.
Despite claiming that his team has delivered on most promises he made to the electorate during the campaigns, the World Bank report placed Baringo at position 36   out of the 47 counties .
 There have been attempts to impeach Cheboi but in all the instances, he had managed to survive. He is said to be at war with Senator Gideon Moi of Kanu. The governor enjoys support of Deputy President William Ruto. To tame Gideon come 2017, Cheboi has been pushing to have the Baringo Central MP Sammy Mwaita go for senatorship.
Cheboi defeated Stanley Kiptis of Kanu. URP won majority of the seats in the national assembly. It has Asman Kamama of Tiaty, William Kipkorir, Baringo North, Grace Kipchoim, Baringo South, Moses Lessonet, Eldama Ravine and Mwaita. Hellen Sambili won Mogotio seat on ODM.
In private, Cheboi blames Gideon for funding the speaker’s camp to fight him. At one time, a notice of a motion signed by 22 members of Baringo county assembly to impeach him failed to sail through after the house became divided on matters relating to house procedures the motion’s presentation.
The motion had been moved by Amaya MCA, Thomas Minito, elected on Narc-K party. He said Cheboi had contravened the constitution in employment, procurement procedures, payment of ECDE teachers and slow implementation of projects.
Before the impeachment that hit a snag, 24 MCAs including the speaker pledged their allegiance to Cheboi during MCA Kibiwott Munge’s thanksgiving ceremony on. Cheboi who was present at the function is said to have petitioned deputy president to come to his rescue hence the move by his opponents.
Well-placed sources privy to the on-goings at the county assembly say that the rebellious camp was at one time bitter that Cheboi had failed to back their car and mortgage loans.
The MCAs opposed to Cheboi are led by the minority leader Wesley Lekakimon who enjoys support of the larger Moi family. In public, he claims that Baringo county government has spent little on developed compared to other counties.
The MCAs and local voters are bitter with the operations at the public service board, more so, employment of county staff.
The public service board has no regional balancing and nepotism, sexual favours and bribery is the benchmark. Cheboi made sure the board had recruited 18 people with his blessings.
The executive only advertises for jobs to satisfy the constitutional provisions to avoid legal process, it is claimed.