Buzeki returns to haunt Ruto, UDA in home turf
Deputy President William Ruto faces an uphill task to ensure his United Democratic Alliance (UDA) clinches the gubernatorial seat in his Uasin-Gishu county backyard in what is shaping up to be a bruising political battle.
The eagerly-awaited titanic battle is expected to be between UDA’s Jonathan Bii alias ‘Koti Moja’ and business mogul-cum politician Zedekiah Kiprop Bundotich alias Buzeki who came second to outgoing Governor Jackson Mandago in 2017.
Mandago, who is serving his second and last term, has already secured the UDA ticket for the county’s senatorial seat.
Buzeki has fallen out with Ruto whose close allies he accuses of dictatorship and holding him hostage.
The governor candidate yesterday said he decided to chart his own political path and will not campaign for the presidential bid.
“I wish him well as he seeks the presidency as I look for my votes to be the governor of Uasin-Gishu County,” Buzeki told People Daily in an interview.
He hit out at some of DP’s allies for hurling insults at leaders in Rift Valley seen to be holding divergent views.
“Every person is entitled to their own opinion. I will not be cowed into toeing a specific political line to please anybody,” said Buzeki who decamped from Jubilee after losing to Mandago in 2017.
Buzeki briefly joined former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto’s Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) where he served as Secretary but left after the latter joined forces with the DP.
‘Buzeki Nebo Chego’ (Buzeki he of the milk) as he is famously known by supporters rides on the slogan ‘Uongozi Ni Sera’ (Leadership is Agenda) has described himself as the only candidate with the interests of the people at heart compared to his opponents.
“My main agenda is to represent the public interest and not just oneself. I will take severe actions to protect the interests of Uasin-Gishu County citizens at all levels when duty calls. I will apply a global perspective in solving local challenges and providing innovative solutions,” said Buzeki when he unveiled his manifesto in Eldoret on Saturday.
Areas of focus
He has prioritised his areas of focus if elected as dairy farming where he intends to set up a county milk processing plant with partial ownership of farmers through cooperative societies holdings.
“We will support farmers' cooperative societies by offering them loans to improve their breeds and support them to produce and process animal feeds through the use of modern equipment and technology,” said Buzeki.
He said his administration will also put in place measures in collaboration with other stakeholders to ensure that maize, wheat and other grains farmers are able to realize a return on their investment.
“We will do this through the establishment of County Milling Corporation and the County Industrial Park to buy farmers’ produce and do value addition. We will also establish a Grain Marketing Board which will seek international markets, contract farming and promote direct grain shipment,” said Buzeki.
According to Buzeki, if elected, his administration will be accountable to the people and will constantly engage them through public participation for debate and scrutiny to ensure accountability.
“My government will ensure that there is fairness in employment where merit will be the criteria and, in some cases, affirmative action will be undertaken to ensure the regional and gender-based balance is achieved,” Buzeki told People Daily in an interview.
Bii on his part has pledged that if elected, he will create an enabling environment for investors and market the North Rift as an ideal industrial hub.
“We will ensure value addition for agricultural products for farmers to reap fully from the sector. We will also set up a stimulus package for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). We will also look for partners who can revitalise industries in the region,” said Bii.