With political temperatures rising and with DP Ruto courting voters with goodies, his Rift Valley backyard is in an equally worrying state with a list of priorities that need to be addressed.
While other regions have been quick to slap DP Ruto with demands, the below list would perfectly fit in the list of demands to the second in command if he hopes to secure support for his 2022 bid.
Rift valley is Kenya’s bread-basket and many millionaires were made from agriculture in the years that are gone.
However, under the Jubilee administration where the region’s kingpin DP Ruto is the second in command, farmers are a frustrated lot.
While the prices of input have continued to rise steadily, maize prices remain low, meaning that farmers end up making little or no profit.
The region’s cash crop, tea has its fair share of challenges as prices remain low with cartels exploiting farmers to the point of many uprooting the crop and opting for alternatives.
2. Collapsed Projects and Corruption
While corruption remains a major challenge across Kenya, Rift Valley bears the brunt of mega projects that collapsed after being looted to the ground with names of prominent persons from the region surfacing in the scandals.
Among the collapsed projects are the Arror and Kimwarer dams where Ksh 21 Billion was lost.
Ironically, when the scandal came to light, DP Ruto attempted to downplay it, initially stating that only Ksh 7 Billion was lost and attracting public outrage.File Image of DP Ruto.
Companies that would traditionally employ hundreds of Kenyans have in recent days collapsed or reduced operations, rendering many people jobless.
Last year alone, the jobs of more than 700 workers at the Kericho-based James Finlay were served with the devastating news that they will lose their jobs by the end of the year. The tea company delivered the devastating news to the employees on Friday 20 November 2020.
4. Increased Poverty rates
The collapse of agriculture means many more are sinking into poverty without an alternative source of income.
The collapse of factories has made matters worse for the region with climate change also taking a toll on the region’s economy.
5. Security and Crime
Some sections of the Rift Valley region remain insecure with bandits roaming with guns and terrorizing residents to the point of government imposing curfew.
In July last year, the government imposed a dusk to dawn curfew in four clash- torn villages of Nakuru County following ethically instigated clashes between members of two communities living in the areas neighboring the Mau Forest Complex.
Kapedo, Baragoi and Suguta areas continue to face security challenges.
6. Environmental conservation and squaters
The Mau forest evictions continue to be a scar on the face of DP Ruto’s legacy.
Years later, those evicted from the forest are yet to find durable solutions after numerous promises including visits by the DP and his foot-soldiers.
7. Politicking at the expense of development
Despite warning from President Uhuru Kenyatta, leaders from the region have been extensively engaged in politics, popularizing DP Ruto’s 2022 bid at the expense of development, only to rant on social media when the head of state heads to other regions to launch projects.
This came to the fore when Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen was silenced when he ranted on social media over President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Kisumu visit.
“Now that cancellation&completion of projects depends on personal relations with President,what will happen to the people of R.Valley who despite voting for Uhuru have been shunned&despised?No wonder projects like Arror, Kimwarer,Itare, Bosto,Keben,Londiani Hosp.have been killed” Wrote Murkomen.
“Rift Valley leaders have been with President Kenyatta for 8 years and nobody complained even as they looted everything on site and ensured only people from Rift Valley are appointed… Leaders from Nyanza meet President Kenyatta once in 8 years and hell breaks out!” Fired back Homa Bay Town MP Opondo Kaluma, silencing Murkomen.