Following the death of Deputy Governor Charles Kipng’ok on Wednesday last week, ethnic politics are playing out in the succession debate in Baringo County.
Elders and residents of his hometown, Baringo Central, have backed his eldest son, Felix Maiyo, 36, to succeed him.
They want Governor Benjamin Cheboi to appoint a replacement from that area, specifically Mr Maiyo, who they say is up to the task and can carry on his father’s development agenda for the people of Baringo.
A tent is being erected at the late Baringo Deputy Governor Charles Kipng’ok’s Emom rural home in Baringo Central.
When a DG dies in office, resigns, or is impeached, the governor must name a replacement within 14 days, who must be approved by the county assembly within 60 days.
As a result, Governor Cheboi has until next Wednesday to name his new DG.
Elders from the late DG’s sub-county have claimed that the governor and senator positions should have gone to Mr Cheboi and William Cheptumo from the populous Arror community in Baringo North, while the DG’s seat should have remained in Baringo Central.
Locals from Kipng’ok’s ancestral home in Emom village, Baringo Central, endorsed his son as his replacement, claiming that they voted for Governor Cheboi because he chose one of their own as his deputy.
An elder, Elijah Moi, insisted that the DG had also invested a lot of resources, time, and energy in supporting Mr Cheboi’s bid, and that the position should be kept in the family as a mark of honour for the astute leader from their community.
“The deputy governor had so much in store for us and we feel that the promises would come into fruition if they appoint his heir to take over. We need nothing short of that because we voted for the governor after he considered our son to deputise him and as an honour, he should not disappoint us,” Mr Moi said.
According to the elders, the DG, who died last Wednesday at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) while waiting to board a Kenya Airways evening flight to Mombasa, played a significant role in Governor Cheboi’s campaigns, which won by a landslide of 137,486 votes.
Former Eldama Ravine MP Moses Lessonet finished second with 60,879 votes as an independent candidate, and former governor Stanley Kiptis finished third with 17 646 votes.
However, locals from disadvantaged groups have repeatedly called for negotiated democracy in order to bring all communities on board and prevent all major seats in the county from going to the populous Arror community.