Rift Valley politicians warned on parallel campaign rallies

Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Maalim Mohammed (in front ) with West Pokot County Commissioner Apollo Okello( Left) and other deputy county commissioners outside Mtelo Hall in Kapenguria, West Pokot County on May 17, 2022.

Photo credit: Oscar Kakai | Nation Media Group

Politicians in the Rift Valley region have been cautioned against convening parallel rallies, in what Regional Commissioner Maalim Mohammed described as unhealthy competition.

Mr Mohammed has directed that security teams be informed of all planned political events. All politicians should follow the Public Order Act, he said.

“We don’t want unhealthy competition in these meetings. We don’t want conflicts. Politicians are required to inform the security teams so that officers can plan themselves and provide security,” he said.

Meeting chiefs

He spoke after meeting chiefs and their assistants at Mtelo Hall in Kapenguria during his tour to familiarise himself with the region. He also met the security team and government officers working in the region.

The meeting came after an assistant chief was injured recently in an attack by bandits on the Kitale-Lodwar highway.

Mr Mohammed said that national administration officers working in the region are required to be alert.

“Our officers depend on chiefs for information. As the national administration, we are the most extensive organs represented by the regional commissioner, county commissioner, deputy county commissioner, assistant county commissioner, chiefs, assistant chiefs, village elders and Nyumba Kumi,” he said.

Chiefs and their assistants at Mtelo Hall in Kapenguria, West Pokot County during a security meeting with Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Maalim Mohammed on May 17, 2022.

Photo credit: Oscar Kakai | Nation Media Group

He told chiefs to stay in their areas of jurisdiction this election period, even as he called on politicians to conduct peaceful campaigns.

“We must stay as brothers and sisters. Politics will come and go,” he said.

Unreachable administrators

Mr Mohammed warned chiefs against staying far from their areas of jurisdiction or being unreachable, warning that action would be taken against those who don’t heed the directive.

“Many chiefs in the region have forgotten their roles and some have been known to be operating from the urban centres,” he said.

“You must be residing where you are expected to work. We don’t want mobile chiefs whose residents have to look for. Some are staying in major towns like Makutano, Sigor, Kacheliba and Alale,” he said.

He called on chiefs to take responsibility and protect residents and their property so that vices can be eradicated for development to be realised in the region.

“You should be aware of everything in your jurisdiction. You must be disciplined. Chiefs are civil servants and not bosses. Leadership is a privilege not a right,” he said.

He said administrators were discussing how to recover animals stolen in attacks.

“We must bring back the stolen animals,” he said. “The question is, where are these raids and banditry and cattle rustling activities planned and how are the officers not informed on time?” 

Drunkards

Mr Mohammed said some chiefs have become drunkards and were blaming him for the pressure that comes with their role. But he said counselling and rehabilitation services are now available to those struggling with addictions, under the anti-drug abuse agency Nacada.

“Chiefs are role models and should show the best example. There is a chief who was about to be dismissed but we counselled and took him for rehabilitation. He is now one of our champions, advising his colleagues on illegal brews,” he said.

Mr Mohammed said residents of Laikipia, Samburu, Turkana, Elgeyo Marakwet and West Pokot counties should be at the same level with other Kenyans and should embrace education, calling on local administrators to ensure 100 per cent transition of children from primary to secondary school.

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