Succession: Baringo Central endorses DG Kipngók’s son to replace him

Mourners meeting at the Emom village home of late Baringo Deputy Governor Charles Kipng’ok,

Michael Chebor (centre), a village elder at Emom village in Baringo County and other mourners coming to terms with the death of Charles Kipng’ok, Baringo County Deputy Governor at his rural Emom home on September 16, 2022. 

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Elders from the late Kipng’ok’s sub-county argue that the governor and senator positions went to the populous Arror community in Baringo North.
  • They want the DG’s seat retained in Baringo Central and front the eldest son of the late DG, Felix Maiyo, 36, to succeed him

Ethnic politics are playing out in the succession talk in Baringo County following the demise of Deputy Governor Charles Kipng’ok on Wednesday last week.

Elders and the Baringo Central community where he hailed have fronted his eldest son, Felix Maiyo, 36, to succeed him.

They want Governor Benjamin Cheboi to pick a replacement from that area, and specifically Mr Maiyo, saying he is equal to the task and can continue with the development agenda his father had for the people of Baringo.

Under the law, when a DG dies in office, resigns or is impeached, a governor nominates a candidate within 14 days, who must be approved by the county assembly within 60 days.

Governor Cheboi thus has until next Wednesday to nominate his new DG.

Ethnic politics

The push for the late DG’s son has taken an ethnic dimension, with elders from the late Kipng’ok’s sub-county claiming that the governor and senator positions went to Mr Cheboi and William Cheptumo from the populous Arror community in Baringo North, and the DG’s seat should be retained in Baringo Central.

Locals from Kipng’ok’s ancestral home in Emom village, Baringo Central, endorsed his son as his replacement, claiming that they supported Governor Cheboi in last month’s polls because he had picked one of their own as his deputy.

Elijah Moi, an elder, insisted that the DG also pumped a lot of resources, time and energy into supporting Mr Cheboi’s bid and the position should remain in the family as a mark of honour for the astute leader from their community.

“The deputy governor had so much in store for us and we feel that the promises would come into fruition if they appoint his heir to take over. We need nothing short of that because we voted for the governor after he considered our son to deputise him and as an honour, he should not disappoint us,” Mr Moi said.

Dominant Arror

Over the years, elders from Samor claimed, the dominant Arror community has clinched major elective seats because of their numbers and influence, disadvantaging other communities in the region.

For instance, in the 2012 General Election, Mr Cheboi, from the dominant Arror, won the governor’s seat while in 2017 Mr Kiptis took over, with the woman representative seat going to Ms Gladwell Cheruiyot from Baringo North.

The elders, led by William Cherambus, said Mr Kipng’ok had a lot in store for voters and was the only person best suited to take up his mantle.

The elders say the DG, who died at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) last Wednesday while waiting to board a Kenya Airways evening flight to Mombasa, played a major role in Governor Cheboi’s campaigns, and they won a landslide of 137,486 votes.

Former Eldama Ravine MP Moses Lessonet, who contested the governor’s seat as an independent candidate, came in second with 60,879 votes and former governor Stanley Kiptis was third with 17 646.

“We want Kipng’ok’s son, Felix Maiyo, who has a master’s degree in petroleum engineering, to take his mantle. He is of age and well conversant with the plans his late father had for Baringo locals,” Mr Cherambus said.

Negotiated democracy

Locals from disadvantaged groups have repeatedly called for negotiated democracy to have all communities on board and avert a situation where all major seats in the county go to the populous Arror community.

“As locals from Baringo Central, we do not want our cake to be snatched from us and for that reason, Governor Cheboi should not let us down by appointing a replacement for the deceased DG from another constituency,” Mr Cherambus said amid burial arrangements for the DG. 

“The seat should remain with us and we have already arrived on who should take the mantle.”

Burial date

Mr Kipngók will be laid to rest on September 24 at his home in Solian, Eldama Ravine sub-county, on the same day he had planned to host a thanksgiving ceremony at his Emom ancestral home.

Burial arrangements are going on at his homes in Solian and Emom, Baringo Central, where neighbours, relatives and friends have been converging.

The late DG developed breathing problems while preparing to board a Kenya Airways (KQ) flight to Mombasa, where he was to attend a Council of Governors induction workshop.

KQ said in a statement that the passenger died after developing breathing difficulties while boarding flight KQ612 that was scheduled to depart for Mombasa at 7pm.

He was pronounced dead by medical personnel at JKIA while the plane was still on the ground.

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