What you need to know:
- Ruto-allied MPs claim wrangles within Jubilee Party have spilled over to the civil service.
- MPs also demand for provision of school children with masks, sanitisers and soaps when learning institutions re-open.
Fifteen Members of Parliament have claimed that there are plans to sack senior government officials perceived to be close to Deputy President William Ruto.
The Ruto-allied legislators said political differences in Jubilee and the alleged scheme to bar the Deputy President from succeeding President Uhuru Kenyatta in the 2022 general election should not spill over to the civil service.
Led by Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and Kipkelion West MP, Hillary Koskei, the legislators said Chief Executive Officers and Managing Directors were among those being targeted.
“I am asking President Uhuru Kenyatta to show leadership and stop the targeted purge of professionals from various parts of the country, and especially Rift Valley, from their positions on claims they subscribe to the thoughts and political aspirations of the Deputy President,” said Mr Murkomen.
Mr Murkomen, a former Majority Leader at the Senate said professionals should be left to do their work and hold positions they merit in the civil service and parastatals irrespective of their tribal backgrounds.
They took exception to claims that the CEO of the Kenya Medical Training Institute (KMTC), Prof Michael Kiptoo, is being targeted for removal by the board of the institution under the chairmanship of Prof Peter Kaloki.
“We demand answers on how three members of the board were hurriedly brought together for a meeting on December 24, 2020 and decided that Prof Kiptoo be removed from office,” said Mr Koskei.
Kipkelion East MP, Joseph Limo, and his Belgut counterpart, Mr Nelson Koech, said the targeted removal of the professionals in government came hot on the heels of a similar move where chairpersons of various committees in the National Assembly and the Senate were removed over their association with the Deputy President.
"Along with former Majority Leader at the Senate (Murkomen), the former Leader of Majority at the National Assembly Aden Duale, myself as the chairman of the Finance Committee at the National Assembly, a section of professionals have been targeted in a systematic purge in government," claimed Mr Limo.
They were speaking at Kapsuser Primary School grounds in Belgut constituency, during the funeral service for the late Mzee Joseph Kibii Koskei, the father to Kericho Woman Representative Florence Bore.
The MPs have also demanded that the government provide school children with masks, sanitisers and soaps to curb the spread of Covid-19 when the learning institutions re-open on January 4, 2021.
DP Ruto, in a message delivered by Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony, described the late Koskei as a focused and visionary leader who contributed immensely to poverty eradication, education, infrastructural development and mentoring many in the society.
"Koskei’s 21 years as an elected zonal director of Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) is a clear demonstration of his exemplary leadership skills and confidence small scale tea growers had in him,” said Dr Ruto.
Trans Nzoia Woman Representative Janeth Nangabo, her Narok counterpart Soipan Tuiya, Naivasha MP Jayne Kihara and her Bomet counterpart Mrs Beatrice Kones, said despite alleged smear campaign against Dr Ruto, they would rally the voters at the grassroots to back him for the presidency in 2022.
“Those of us backing Dr Ruto to succeed President Kenyatta in the next election are doing so in the understanding that we have a clear succession plan in Jubilee Party which we will stick to the end,” said Mrs Kihara.
“It is unfortunate that when we declare our political position on succession politics we are branded as a crop of politicians who do not back President Kenyatta. What other support can we give other than the fact we rallied the people to the last man to elect the president in 2012 and re-elect him in the 2017 poll?” she posed.
Ms Nangabo and Ms Tuiya said the recent by-election in Msambweni, where independent candidate Feisal Bader, who was backed by Ruto, emerged victorious was the clearest indication yet that the people at the grassroots would support the DP for the presidency.
“I am glad that former Prime Minister Raila Odinga had a prophetic message that if ODM losses Msambweni poll it would be a clear indicator that Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) and his 2022 presidential bid would be at great jeopardy,” said Bureti MP Japeth Mutai.
Kericho Senator Aron Cheruiyot, his Bomet counterpart Christopher Langat, Kabete MP James Githua Kamau, Konoin MP Brighton Yegon and nominated ODM MP Wilson Sossion said the government should provide masks, sanitisers and soaps to learners when schools re-open in January.
They said the government had failed to construct more classrooms, dormitories, toilets and provide amenities to accommodate learners in schools under the social distancing policy to curb spread of Covid-19.
“Masks in public and private schools should be provided by the government so as to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country. The cost should not be passed on to parents and guardians,” said Dr Langat.
“The government should use the tens of billions of shillings from donor agencies towards fighting Covid-19, to buy masks for school children,” said Dr Langat, a former chairman of the Senate Committee on Education.
The MPs said due to lack of preparedness in tackling Covid-19, schools risk becoming incubation grounds for a second wave of the pandemic.
Mr Sossion said the government has had adequate time to produce or procure masks and sanitizers for use by school children.
“There should be no excuse as to why masks are not availed for free for teachers and learners. Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha should ensure children are not exposed to risks of contracting Covid-19.”
Mr Koech said there was no running water in most schools yet some senior politicians were pushing for constitutional amendment through the BBI.