Ruto furious after Bomet, Kericho governors booed at his meetings

President William Ruto

President William Ruto has warned bandits against attacking people in Baringo.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Supporters of Governor Barchok and Senator Sigei clashed shortly before the President arrived in Bomet town.
  • Earlier in the week, crowds heckled Governor Eric Mutai in Kericho.

Political tension boiled over in Bomet as President William Ruto and his Deputy Rigathi Gachagua presided over development projects in three constituencies.

Supporters of Bomet Governor Hillary Barchok and Senator Hillary Sigei engaged in stone-throwing in the town’s business hub shortly before the President was driven into the town.

The fight lasted for over one hour with stones littering the town where business premises were hurriedly closed and passenger service vehicles driven off the main matatu stage.

Police had a hectic time separating youths who were throwing stones and blunt objects at each other disrupting traffic along the Bomet- Narok, Bomet-Kisii highway, as police made traffic efforts to clear the road.

The fight broke out when President Ruto presided over the opening of the Chemamul transformer project in Bomet East constituency.

During the launch of the 60 kilometres Kyogong-Sigor-Chebunyo, Longisa-Kipreres-Sigor road which is being upgraded to bitumen standards at the cost of Sh 2.1 billion, President Ruto had to intervene after Professor Barchok was repeatedly heckled by the crowd.

“I do not want this kind of chaos in my meetings. United Democratic Alliance (UDA) is a party that embraces order. Allow the leaders to make their speeches and if they have not performed, wait and deal with them in the next general election by voting them out,” Dr Ruto said at Kapkesosio Trading Centre in Chepalungu.

“Please, allow the leaders to speak. After all, you are the ones who elected them in the last general election “Dr Ruto said.

Professor Barchok braved the heckling and made his address as he tried to win the wayward crowd over to his side.

“Mr President, except for a few of these people who are intoxicated, I have the majority of the people on my side” Professor Barchok said in what appeared to have set the tempo for the crowd building up in Bomet town ahead of the President’s arrival.

Senator Hillary Sigei was briefly interrupted in the function, which suggests there were two camps at the meeting which were prepared to rally behind their man.

As the President’s entourage snaked its way to Chemamul for the second project, fighting broke out in the town lasting for over an hour with police rendered hapless while motorists were caught in the melee.

The same scenario replicated itself on Thursday in Kericho where the crowd shouted down Governor Dr Eric Mutai.

Dr Ruto had to intervene at Belgut TTI when Dr Mutai was shouted down as he gave one of the shortest speeches which lasted one minute.

The President said it was improper for the people in his meetings to shout down leaders saying the intolerance was uncalled for.

“If you are not satisfied by the performance of some leaders, the only time to make your point known is during the election season, but not mid-term. Let the leaders serve their term and deal with them later” Dr Ruto said.

Dr Ruto stated that the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party leadership fully embraced order as compared to its rivals whom he claimed were known for chaotic meetings.

At Kapsuser Trading Centre, the shouting hit a crescendo with the Governor losing his cool and firing back at the hecklers saying the bad manners must stop.

“I know you have been sponsored to heckle me. These bad manners have to stop. I would not agree as Governor for this to continue happening. It must come to an end” Dr Mutai said.

In Bomet, undercurrents between Governor Hillary Barchok and Senator Hillary Sigei have been playing out since the announcement of the Presidential tour was made.

Cabinet Secretary for Roads Kipchumba Murkomen, Senator Sigei and Chepalungu Member of Parliament Victor Koech toured the projects to be opened, with Governor Barchok who has played a peripheral role, skipping it.

It is common for political battles to spill out into the open in Bomet county whenever the President is visiting and during rallies attended by senior politicians.