Who will blink first: Row over proposed university intensifies in Bomet
Row over proposed university intensifies: Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto and a group of local leaders allied to Deputy President William Ruto are locked in a long-standing stalemate over the site for the construction of the first public university in the county.
The row has delayed the ground-breaking ceremony for the institution that would cost taxpayers a whopping Sh6 billion.
The national government has already allocated Sh800 million for construction works, but Governor Ruto has frustrated the efforts by turning the preferred site for the construction of the institution into a dumpsite.
Governor Ruto is pitching for the construction of the university at Sigor in his Chepalungu backyard, while the local MPs led by National Assembly Deputy Speaker Dr Joyce Laboso, have ganged up to push for the construction in Bomet town.
Now, it is a case of who will blink first between the feuding leaders.
But as they square it out, students from the county will continue venturing into neighboring counties for their university education.
The leaders who have held on to their hard line position are fighting for credit on the project as the country heads to the next election. Dr Laboso is seeking to unseat Governor Ruto in the next General Election and winning the battle over the location of the university will give her some political clout.
“Bomet town is a central place within the county and Dr Laboso knows that she will have it easy in campaigning against Governor Ruto in 2017 with the project as her selling point,” Richard Yegon, a scholar and political observer said.
Dr Laboso, however, holds onto her argument that her push is in the interest of the public.
“It is in the interest of the public that my colleagues and I want the institution put up in Bomet town as a central place for all students from the county to access it with ease” says the Sotik MP.
She adds that, “If it was about selfish interest then we would push to have the project in our constituencies.”