COUNTY POLITICS: Boosting security and equality at the top of aspirants’ to-do list in Kuresoi North


COUNTY POLITICS: Boosting security and equality at the top of aspirants’ to-do list in Kuresoi North

Constituency has cattle rustling as well as violence and gangs have taken over parts of it.

Insecurity, unresolved land disputes, unending cattle rustling and marginalisation of the minority communities are some of the factors that will shape the duel for the Kuresoi North parliamentary seat.

The agriculture-rich region was thrust into the limelight following the 1992 tribal clashes. As a result, a number of residents moved out of the region never to return again.

The once vibrant trading centres are now a pale shadow of themselves as traders abandoned their shops and migrated to other counties.

Although the communities now live peacefully and the scars of the violence seem to be healing fast, residents are now worried about a new wave of insecurity that has rocked the area.

So bad is the situation that they have now been forced to sleep with their animals in their rented houses and in the morning, take them for grazing for fear of attacks by criminals.

Organised gangs have taken over parts of the constituency, stealing property including fresh produce in farms.

The constituency has also been hit hard by water shortages and they grapple with poor infrastructure.

Education standards have also been on the decline leading to an increase in the number of school dropouts.

These, among others issues, are some of the factors that will influence the race for the seat.

The contest has so far attracted five candidates including incumbent Moses Cheboi, Dr Stanley Chepkwony, a former Agriculture executive at the Nakuru County government, and Mr Stephen Ng’eno.

FORMER MP

Also in the race is Mr Joel Ayieny and former MP James Koskei’s wife Evelyne.

The region is predominantly Kipsigis and Mr Cheboi, who hails from Tugen sub-community from the neighbouring Baringo County, is now being seen as an outsider.

Mr Ng’eno, popularly known as Sutek, has said unless historical injustices meted on the communities in the area are addressed, peace in the region will remain elusive.

“How do you feel as a resident of Kuresoi North when you see more than 2,000 acres of Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) farms such as ADC Toll Trees, ADC Nyota and ADC Sirikwa, all allocated to one community?” asked Mr Ng’eno.

He promised to ensure equal distribution of resources to the communities as well as resolve pending land issues.

“My aim is to ensure that all genuine land owners are issued with title deeds,” he said.

Mr Ng’eno, 45, accused the incumbent of bias in the allocation of money from the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and not forging unity among the communities in the area.

Mr Cheboi, who won the seat in 2013 on a Kanu ticket, however, denied the claims.

He accused his critics of engaging in witch-hunt to gain political mileage.

 “I have distributed resources in the constituency fairly,” said Mr Cheboi. “For instance, the minority Ogiek community never had a girl’s secondary school. Through my efforts, they now have a school.”

BROKER PEACE

The MP said he had delivered all his election pledges including improving education and infrastructure and had helped broker peace between two warring communities.

Ms Koskei, the only woman in the contest and a former Kenya Revenue Authority manager, is also optimistic of emerging victorious, not only in the primaries but also the August 8 election.

On top of her agenda, she said, would be to revive the dwindling education standards. “It is very unfortunate that we are still posting poor results. These are some of the issues I want to correct. Education, as they say, is the key to fighting poverty,” said the former teacher.

She also pledged to improve infrastructure and healthcare as residents continue to seek medical attention in Bomet and Kericho counties.

Also on her to-do list is the empowerment of women and the youth by reviving polytechnics and helping the disabled.

Dr Chepkwony, who is making a debut in politics, said he was the best-placed person to become the next MP.

“I want to make sure CDF money is utilised in a transparent manner and all the communities benefit irrespective of the ethnic background,” said Dr Chepkwony.

He said many projects funded by CDF in the constituency were incomplete due to mismanagement of the fund.

On agriculture, he said he would allocate adequate funds to make sure extension officers are readily available to help farmers to boost their production.

Mr Joel Ayieny is making his second attempt to win the seat and hopes to improve on his dismal performance in the 2013 election to convince the residents to give him an opportunity to be their next MP.