Saturday, 28 January 2023, 8:54

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Tugetab Kalenjin

Kericho Governor, deputy fall out days after being sworn in

An intense leadership row between Kericho Governor Erick Mutai and his Deputy Fred Kirui has boiled over.

Mr Kirui went public and confirmed that he and his boss had disagreed on managing the county affairs, adding that the two had not sat to discuss and agree on filling key positions in their government, especially the cabinet.

He revealed the existence of a pre-election 60-40 percent power-sharing agreement, claiming he had been sidelined by the governor in nominations to the County Executive Committee.

The names of the nominees have been forwarded to the assembly for vetting.

“Such actions and other related moves in the recent past have caused mistrust, discomfort and clearly dented our working relationship,” Mr Kirui said.

“It is unfortunate that this has happened at the beginning of our tenure when we ought to have been fixing the problems faced by our people.”

He said he disagrees with his boss on his approach to addressing the issues affecting the health sector, including medical supplies and the management of the county referral hospital, sub-county hospitals, health centres and dispensaries.

Other areas they disagree on are providing clean water to residents and roads.

Mr Kirui has not been seen at official functions presided over by Dr Mutai, in and outside the office, since they were sworn in almost two months ago.

The DG did not attend the swearing-in of members of the county assembly (MCAs) and the election of the Speaker, and was missing when the governor presided over the opening of the assembly and gave his first address, and the unveiling of nominees for the CEC members and the county secretary.

Mr Kirui failed to turn up for International Coffee Day celebrations at Fort Ternan in Kipkelion West constituency at the weekend, though the area is a few kilometres from his home. He is understood to have been attending to his private business at home.

In a statement on Tuesday, Mr Kirui also named the leaders who were instrumental in brokering a deal that saw him defer his gubernatorial ambitions to back Dr Mutai for the top seat so as to beat former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter in the April 14 United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party primaries.

Senate Majority Leader and Kericho Senator Aron Cheruiyot, former Roads minister Franklin Bett, gospel singer Pastor Joel Kimetto and former National Transport Authority (NTSA) director Job Chirchir were some of the leaders involved in midwifing the unexpected political marriage between Dr Mutai and Mr Kirui.

Dr Mutai and Mr Kirui were seen as the front-runners in the fight for the UDA gubernatorial ticket.

As a result of the deal, Mr Keter, a former Kericho senator with a massive war chest, saw his political career go up in smoke as Dr Mutai garnered 126,038 votes against his 60,342.

Mr Keter has since kept a low public profile and his name did not feature on President William Ruto’s list of nominees to his Cabinet.

“It was agreed that upon being elected, we would share the county leadership in the ratio of 40 to 60 percent. From the onset, it was agreed that the government we were forming was going to be a negotiated one,” Mr Kirui stated.