VIDEO: MPs walk out of event chaired by President Kenyatta in Bomet
Seven lawmakers from Bomet County walked out of a presidential function on Monday in protest against not being called to speak.
They are Senator Christopher Langat, Nominated Senator Alice Milgo, Konoin Member of Parliament (MP) Brighton Yegon, Bomet East’s Beatrice Kones, Chepalungu MP Gideon Koskei, Bomet Central’s Ronald Tonui and Woman Representative Joyce Korir.
The seven stormed out during the opening of a tuition block at Bomet University College, soon after Governor Joyce Laboso handed the microphone to Deputy President William Ruto.
They said they were riled by the invitation as Mr Ruto would then invite President Uhuru Kenyatta to give his address.
The lawmakers accused the governor of not involving them in plans for President Kenyatta’s visit and not acknowledging their presence at the college. They claimed she did not invite them to a planning meeting ahead of the function, to draw up a memorandum that would be handed over to the president.
“We were not invited to give our speeches or even wave at the crowd,” said Mr Koskei.
“We had several issues we wanted the raise before the president but the governor deemed it fit to ignore us,” he told the Nation.
Mr Yegon said said they intended to raise matters to do with Mau evictions, the state of infrastructure in the county, appointment of locals to key government positions as the region has been left out, poor tea prices and mismanagement of the Kenya Tea Development Authority (KTDA).
Ms Korir said,” The governor has started a war she cannot finish. The gloves are off. We will take this war to her doorsteps.”
Mr Tonui said, “For the entire three days the president has been in Western Region and Rift Valley, members of the county assembly and MPs were recognised. What suddenly changed when it came to Bomet County?”
He added: “It is sad that we fought very hard for the university to be established in Bomet town yet when it it time for the president and his deputy to open it, we are not recognised at all.”
They lawmakers all skipped the Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) conference at Bomet Stadium, which the president opened later, and instead held a parallel meeting at the old stadium which was converted into a parking space.
Sotik MP Dominic Koskei was not at the function as he is out of the country.
At the LREB meeting, Dr Laboso also did not recognise the MPs in her speech and did not seem to know they had walked out.
The seven said they did not find the conference important after the incident at the stadium and that it amounted to “a forced marriage”.
“What has happened today further confirms our reservations and fears over Bomet’s engagement in the LREB and the planned setting aside of Sh200 million to set up a bank, a project which is not a priority to us,” said Senator Langat.
The legislators said they will make a declaration on their engagement with the governor at a meeting at Siongiroi Stadium on Saturday, during Mr Koskei’s thanksgiving ceremony.
The Deputy President has been invited to the meeting as the chief guest, according to the Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) legislator.
In her response, the governor said she was not to blame for the hitch as she was not in charge of the president’s programme.
“The programme was tight right from the start, with the president presiding over three key functions – one in Sotik and two in Bomet town,” said Dr Laboso.
“I have learnt through the press of the alleged walkout by MPs. I clarify that I had instructions to directly invite the DP as the president was in a hurry. In fact, I mentioned in my remarks that MPs and MCAs were present. Senator Langat is one of the panelists in the LREB conference.”