alexa Barchok cuts a lonely figure as MPs shun his functions - Daily Nation

Barchok cuts a lonely figure as MPs shun his functions

Sunday March 22 2020

 Hillary Barchok

Bomet Governor Hillary Barchok being sworn into office at the Bomet stadium on August 8, 2019. Two months ago, the governor and Senator Christopher Langat almost came to blows at a fundraiser in Kipreres. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

VITALIS KIMUTAI
By VITALIS KIMUTAI
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Bomet Governor Hillary Barchok is increasingly becoming an isolated man seven months after taking the oath of office, with the nine MPs in the county skipping his functions.

Three weeks after he reached out to the lawmakers he fell out with and hammered a truce, the MPs did not attend a Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) meeting he convened on Tuesday last week.

In what clearly points to a rift and deep-seated differences, the lawmakers did not even bother to send apologies though they were invited to the meeting.

A handful of ward representatives, including Majority Leader Josephat Kirui and his Minority counterpart Andrew Maritim, were at the poorly attended function at the county headquarters in Bomet town.

ELECTED LEADERS

Governor Barchok said he would continue to consult elected leaders ahead of the Nakuru BBI meeting.

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“We will convene a leaders meeting in Bomet town to chart the way forward as we are keen on presenting one document to the BBI team. I am the only one mandated to convene town hall meetings on BBI,” Dr Barchok said on Friday.

A month ago, the county boss held a meeting with ward representatives in a city hotel in a bid to prevent a falling-out. The governor has been ridiculed from many quarters even after he picked former County Assembly Speaker Shadrack Rotich as his deputy.

MPs have not appeared at functions organised by Dr Barchok in the last seven months.
The meetings include those organised by county education stakeholders, the county education prize-giving day, awarding of bursaries, development forums in the five constituencies and others.

“There are undercurrents between the governor and MPs. He is accused of not consulting before making decisions. The meeting in Nairobi three weeks ago did not help much,” an MP, who requested not to be named, told the Sunday Nation. “As a matter of fact, the only reason we are together is Deputy President William Ruto, who is keen on maintaining his grip of the Rift Valley. We would have declared an all-out political war a long time ago.”

PUBLIC DISAGREEMENT
The meeting at the Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi was attended by six MPs from Bomet.

It came against the backdrop of a public disagreement between Dr Barchok and Senator Christopher Langat over “corruption” in the devolved government, shoddy work by contractors awarded tenders for various projects and a shortage of medicine and medical equipment at hospitals.

It was the first time that the lawmakers held a meeting with the governor since he took office on August 8, 2019 following the death of Governor Joyce Laboso on July 29.

Bomet Woman Representative Joyce Korir, nominated Senator Alice Milgo and MPs Beatrice Kones (Bomet East), Dominic Koskei (Sotik), Brighton Yegon (Konoin) and Mr Langat attended the Nairobi meeting.

The lawmakers who did not take part in the meeting that lasted more than three hours were Ronald Tonui (Bomet Central), Gideon Koskei (Chepalungu) and Wilson Sossion (Nominated).

Just two months ago, Dr Barchok and the senator were involved in an ugly public altercation and near punch-up during a fundraiser at Kipreres trading centre in Bomet East sub-county.

LONE RANGER
Mrs Kones, Mrs Korir and area Ward Representative Philiph Korir intervened and stopped the confrontation from becoming uglier as bewildered locals watched.

“Dr Laboso used to convene meetings with MPs before embarking on projects and other issues involving Bomet County,” Mr Langat said.

“Dr Barchok has not called a single meeting since he became governor. He has ignored calls to do so. Lone-ranger tactics do not augur well for unity and Jubilee Party.”

Governor Barchok accused the senator of undermining his administration and overstepping his mandate.