Personal differences between Narok Governor Samuel ole Tunai and Senator-elect Ledama ole Kina openly played out during Mr Tunai’s swearing-in ceremony on Monday.
Mr Ledama, elected on an ODM ticket, sparked off the war of words, publicly accusing the governor of mismanaging the county’s resources.
He alleged corruption, mismanagement of the Maasai Mara Game Reserve and the pending Mau Forest evictions, vowing to stage a fight with the governor during his second term in office.
The chest-thumbing senator warned the governor that he would closely monitor the county budget and the audit reports which he said must be made public and transparent at all times to stop embezzlement.
“There are contractors who were not paid during your last term in office. There are projects that were not done in wards after they were launched. I will be vigilant. This will not happen during my term,” Mr Ledama said before hundreds of residents, dignitaries and guests who turned up at Narok Stadium where Mr Tunai’s inauguration took place.
“As a county we have a big problem about the Mau Forest and pending evictions. We need the county to set up proper boundaries to stop further encroachment,” said Mr Ole Kina.
Mr Tunai, responding to the attack after making his official speech, warned the senator-elect against making unfounded claims which he cannot defend.
He termed the attack by Mr Ledama as personal.
The governor termed the senator a novice in politics, advising him to first go through orientation on what is expected of him as a senator and stop “behaving like an activist”.
Mr Ledama beat Jubilee’s Nkoidila ole Lankas to secure the Narok senatorial seat in the just concluded General Election.
Mr Tunai, referring to a 2013 election petition that Mr Ledama filed against him, reminded the senator-elect that he is yet to pay him as he was ordered by the court.
“I thank God you won this (seat) because you can now pay me my money as you were ordered,” Mr Tunai said.
However, the governor said he is ready to work with the ODM senator and equally ready for a fight if insists on that.
“If you will agree [that we] work together, that’s fine, and if you don’t, we are also ready to face you like the other time,” the governor said.
Mr Ledama filed a petition in the High Court in 2013 challenging the election of Mr Tunai and his deputy Evelyne Aruasa but the court dismissed it and ordered him to pay Sh4.5 million as cost of the suit.
The court granted Mr Tunai and Ms Aruasa Sh1 million each, the electoral commission Sh500,000 and other respondents were to get amounts ranging between Sh50,000 and Sh750,000, bringing the total to Sh4.5 million.
Mr Ledama had moved to the Supreme Court to appeal the High Court decision but later withdrew the case and sought to challenge the costs awarded to the respondents.