Uhuru moves to protect South Rift

On Thursday, the President argued that National Super Alliance leaders were seeking personal gains at the expense of locals who expect service from both levels of government.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Jubilee team are seeking to neutralise opposition influence in the South Rift, with a message that his rivals will fuel supremacy wars between devolved units and the national government.

“There is no difference between national and county governments. We do not need competition. What we need are governments that work together,” he told a crowd at Bomet stadium.

“But for the last five years, it has been like the national government and counties are in competition. They complain of lack of money and make all sorts of noise. Today we are here to demonstrate that money in counties and money at the national government is the same, belonging to the Kenyan taxpayer.”

Bomet, part of the larger South Rift region, is regarded a Jubilee Party stronghold going by the 2013 elections in which Mr Kenyatta was voted for by nine of every 10 electors.
But it is the same stadium where the Nasa brigade staged a rally last Friday and the crowd surpassed expectations as opposition lieutenants tore into the ruling coalition as corrupt and unable to feed Kenyans.

On Thursday, President Kenyatta and his brigade matched the crowd but his lieutenants including Aden Duale and Kipchumba Murkomen claimed the Opposition had imported supporters to the venue last week.

The President was there to witness his Jubilee governorship candidate Joyce Laboso launch her manifesto, which she argued will be a social agreement with Bomet people.
MARKET GROUP

The President used the occasion to market his party, saying it was demonstrating its bid for gender equality.

“Let us make history and show the world that women too are capable of leadership. Because leadership is not about chest thumpimg but what is in your brain.”

In a way, the President was indirectly attacking Governor Isaac Ruto for targeting the national government.
Mr Ruto, who was elected in 2013 on a Jubilee alliance ticket, broke ranks and formed his own Chama Cha Mashinani party, which then joined Nasa, which is led by Mr Raila Odinga.

COUNCIL’S CHAIRMAN

But Mr Ruto, apart from being the nemesis of Deputy President William Ruto, was also chairman of the Council of Governors for two years from 2013, where he ran into incessant conflicts with Nairobi on a number of devolution-related issues.

For instance, when the national government sought contracts on medical equipment, he opposed it, becoming the last to sign albeit reluctantly.
Then he often complained that the national government delayed sending money to counties.

Launching her manifesto on Thursday, Dr Laboso, the Sotik MP and National Assembly Deputy Speaker, promised to improve health, infrastructure, education and the Bomet economy.

BRING TOGETHER

She promised to embrace collective leadership by bringing together county leaders and stakeholders to enhance economic growth.

Dr Laboso promised to improve roads to enable local farmers to access markets for their produce and improve their livelihoods.

She also promised to improve health care by providing medicine to all health facilities. She would also employ health personnel in institutions that have been built but lack staff.

Dr Laboso promised to work with other stakeholders to reduce the cost of tea processing, saying the high cost of electricity denied farmers gainful profits.

“I will ensure that hydro-electric projects are introduced in all major rivers in the tea growing zones to check the excessive expense,” she said.

Additional reporting by Geoffrey Rono

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