June 28th 2017

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Livingstone Talel stirs Elgeyo Marakwet governor's race

The MP also asked the electorate to avoid 'groupthink' in choosing leaders, saying larger identities like the "Kalenjin" made it harder for people to pursue their common interests. He said the better identity in electoral politics for Kalenjin communities should be to think as distict sub-tribes.

By Julius ChemiteiWednesday, 14 Dec 2016 19:28 EAT

Part of the crowd that turned up for the meeting. (Photo: Julius Chemitei/Kenya Free Press).

Elgeyo Marakwet professionals, business people and university students living in Nairobi have endorsed Livingstone Cheboi Talel to oust the current Governor Alex Tolgos. During an evening meeting at the 680 Hotel yesterday, the stakeholders gave their blessings to Mr Talel to vie for the gubernatorial seat come elections next year.

Speaking during the event, former Marakwet East MP John Marimoi raised concerns over escalating cases of cattle rustling along the Kerio Valley especially at a time the country is headed for general elections. "I don’t understand why every time elections near, banditry gains momentum along the border point of Kerio valley’’, Mr Marimoi said.

Other leaders expressed their regrets that the current leadership at the county did not address the issues pressing the wananchi. Former Marakwet West MP David Sudi said the Tolgos-led administration continues to blame "lack of structures" when they have been in power for four years. The MP asked Elgeyo Marakwet electorate to consider other parties and not confine themselves within Jubilee Party since they may find a party more accommodative of their interests.

Mr Sudi urged aspirants to join his New Democrats Party saying they would enjoy having free and fair party primaries. He also condemned the corruption in government. "You can’t say we are together (tuko pamoja) when others are stealing government resources at the peril of mwananchi."

The MP also asked the electorate to avoid 'groupthink' in choosing leaders, saying larger identities like the "Kalenjin" made it harder for people to pursue their common interests. He said the better identity in electoral politics for Kalenjin communities should be to think as distict sub-tribes, arguing that Marakwets and Keiyos are not Kalenjins but they only speak the Kalenjin languge. "The notion of putting Kalenjins under one umbrella has made them loose land and other resources that rightfully belonged to them," he said.

Mr Talel, a former employee of the Central Bank, said he had traversed the county and got good reception to his ideas. In his address to the nearly 300 people from all the four sub-counties of Marakwet East and West, Keiyo North and South, Mr Talel said he was optimistic that he would provide solutions to the problems ailing the EMC people.

He promised the attendees that he would set up a fully flagged office for them to articulate issues for the current leadership has not given them a chance to give their input in the development of their home county. "It is sad that 50 years after independence and four years into devolution, women are still carried on the back by their husbands for kilometers to access maternity services yet the county leadership is returning money to the Treasury unspent,’’ he lamented.

He said he would not buy the governor's car or build a house before equipping all the dispensaries and health centers with necessary equipment’s and personnel. On security, the aspirant reiterated the fact that many peace pacts between the Marakwet and Pokot tribes had not been implemented on the ground yet leaders from both sides had agreed to cease banditry along the Kerio Valley. He said implementing the agreements would be his first priority in security promotion. Mr also said he would establish a mango juice processing plant in Kerio Valley and a crisp processing plant in Chepkorio Town of Keiyo south subcounty to ensure that potato farmers reap maximum profits from their produce.

Mr Talel who has already paid his nomination fee of Sh100,000 to Jubilee Party will be battling it out with the Mr Tolgos, Keiyo South MP Jackson Kiptanui and Sasini MD Moses Kiplagat Changwony among others.

The writer, an experienced journalist, is a contributing reporter for the Kenya Free Press





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