President William Ruto has come to the defence of his deputy Rigathi Gachagua and refuted claims that he had set him up for a fall by delegating to him the responsibility of dismantle cartels in the agriculture sector.
The President said the claims were unfounded and should be ignored as his administration was focused on fixing the economy and service delivery.
“I have not set up my deputy for a fall. If he falls, I will also fall,” President Ruto said while speaking during a thanksgiving prayer rally at Bomet Green Stadium yesterday.
The President said the reforms, especially in the tea and coffee sectors, will be spearheaded by Mr Gachagua to enable farmers earn profits from their investment.
Mr Gachagua had earlier assured his boss that he will crack the whip on the cartels. He said he will today hold a meeting with Kenya Tea Development Agency directors to address various issues in the sector.
“There will be a lot of noise when the hammer falls on the cartels, and I urge you Mr President not to listen or give refuge to the actors who have exploited farmers for several years,” Mr Gachagua said.
President Ruto said there was no room for political bickering in government and reprimanded members of the Kericho County Assembly over the recent fighting. A fight broke out over leadership changes in the house with Mr Vincent Korir being picked majority leader to replace Mr Paul Chirchir.
“Kericho MCAs must stop the nonsense. Shame on you. The people of Kenya voted for us to implement development projects and not to fight over positions,” he said
Responding to calls from local leaders led by Senate Majority Leader Aaron Cheruiyot, Bomet Senator Hillary Sigei and governors Hillary Barchok (Bomet) and Dr Erick Mutai (Kericho) for funding of stalled projects, President Ruto said construction would resume in a month.
He said the Sh22 billion Bosto water dam, a flagship project of former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration in the region, would be launched in April.
“The challenges that prevented the project from being initiated have been sorted and I will come to launch it in April so as to enable the people to have access to clean drinking water,” said the President.
While Sh2 billion had been used to carry out feasibility studies and other preliminary issues, the Kenya Forest Services and other government departments were opposed to the hiving off of part of Mau forest for construction of the dam.
Bomet East MP Richard Yegon, Mr Victor Koech (Chepalungu), Mr Brighton Yegon (Konoin), Richard Kilel (Bomet Central) and Woman Rep Linet Chepkorir presented a list of projects the locals wants the government to prioritise, saying the region had been sidelined.
“For one and a half years, the water and roads projects were starved of funds but construction will resume next month. It is an issue we have discussed with the leaders at length,” Dr Ruto said.