Inside Politics

Buzeki links Mandago to militia ahead of elections

Friday, June 17th, 2022 06:00 | By

Claims a group of a militia is being trained at a farmer's training centre in Uasin Gishu ahead of the August 9 polls has opened a new political warpath between Governor Jackson Mandago and his arch-rival Zedekiah Bundotich aka Buzeki.

Mandago has hit out at Buzeki, who seeking to succeed him, for peddling lies to malign his administration and gain political mileage.

According to Mandago, those undergoing training at Chebororwa Farmers Agricultural Training Centre is county inspectorate and fire officers.

“I thank the trainers and our officers for going on with the training in spite of people of ill-will, who don’t want to see efficiency in service in this county, are busy rumour-mongering and trying to taint the good image of our officers,” said the governor during the pass out parade of the officers, yesterday.

However, Buzeki yesterday maintained what was happening at the institution was fishy and has called on security agencies to launch a probe.

“We know what is happening at the training centre. We will not allow a few people to be used to cause mayhem. We call on the government to be vigilant as we head to the election,” said Buzeki.

He spoke at Chebarus and Chepkanga areas where he held campaigns, accusing Mandago’s administration of what he called poor management of county affairs.

Mandago, who is eyeing the Senate seat, has termed the claims baseless, saying it was politically instigated to target members of the Deputy President William Ruto-led UDA camp.

“My opponents have no development agenda for the people and they have now resorted to making wild allegations to malign my administration. Let me remind them that Uasin Gishu will remain peaceful during and after the elections,” said Mandago.

“I exit the office with my head held high because I am leaving behind a united people. Uasin Gishu will have a very peaceful election which will be an example to the rest of the country.”

He was last week grilled for several hours at the regional Directorate of Criminal Investigations office in Nakuru over the alleged militia training. He was summoned alongside county Assembly Speaker David Kiplagat and Cheptiret-Kipchamo MCA Gilbert Tenai. They were grilled by detectives led by Rift Valley Regional Criminal Investigation Officer (RCIO) Mwenda Meme.

The DCI has since launched a probe after a letter purporting to come from the agency went viral on social media, claiming 25 people who were undergoing training at the Chebororwa ATC had been arrested.

DCI has, however, dismissed the letter which it described as fake even as it indicated a probe has been launched to ascertain its source.

“DCI hereby clarifies the document is not authentic and has not originated from any of our offices. You are advised to treat it with contempt,” the DCI tweeted.

Converted as a centre of excellence by Mandago’s administration, Chebororwa ATC is currently producing coffee, macadamia, tissue culture banana and avocado seedlings. This has seen the distribution of more than 290,000 avocado, 35,000 macadamia and 17,000 tissue culture bananas to various farmers' groups.

According to Mandago, his administration usually carries out routine training of department personnel, and county enforcement officers among others.

Many counties in the North Rift among them Elgeyo Marakwet and Uasin Gishu usually hold farmers and other meetings at the facility which also does research on modern livestock breeds.

A recent report released by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission listed six counties it says have a high likelihood of experiencing election-related violence. They are Nairobi at 79.85 per cent, Nakuru (75.77), Kericho (74.81), Kisumu (72.46), Uasin Gishu (72.25) and Mombasa (71.15).

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