Mandago defends top farmers centre over militia training claims
Located about 40 kilometres from Eldoret town, Chebororwa Agricultural Training Centre (ATC) is famed for training farmers in the region and beyond on modern agricultural technologies besides hosting other conference facilities.
However, claims that a militia group was being trained at the facility ahead of the August 9 General Election has sparked political jitters in the region which was a post-election violence hotspot in 2007.
People Daily has established that counties in the North Rift among them Elgeyo-Marakwet and Uasin-Gishu usually hold farmers’ training and other meetings at the facility which also conducts research on modern livestock breeds.
A worker who has served at the institution for more than 30 years yesterday said he was taken aback by claims that a militia group was undergoing training there.
“I’ve been working here for many years and I’ve never witnessed any criminal activity. We don’t know where the claims came from,” said the worker who sought anonymity.
Uasin-Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago yesterday dismissed the claims and hit out at his political detractors for peddling lies.
He termed the reports as baseless and unsubstantiated adding that the same was politically instigated to target members of Deputy President William Ruto-led United Democratic Alliance (UDA).
“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 polls,” said Mandago.
Elevated to become a centre of excellence by Mandago’s administration, Chebororwa ATC produces coffee, macadamia, tissue culture banana and avocado seedlings.
It has seen the distribution of more than 290,000 avocado, 35,000 macadamia and 17,000 tissue culture bananas to various farmers groups. Some elders from Uasin-Gishu County have also dismissed the NCIC report and pledged to champion peaceful co-existence ahead of the polls.
“Where did they get this report?. We have worked tirelessly for the last 10 years to foster peace in this region and we cannot afford to reverse the gains,” said Kaburwo council of elders chairperson Tom Yego.