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Residents demonstrate against MCA

14 August 2014, 14:45 Arap Yego

Bungoma - A section of residents from Kapkateny Ward in Mt Elgon Constituency staged a peaceful demonstration yesterday protesting alleged discrimination by the area Member of the County Assembly (MCA) on tribal grounds.

The hundreds of residents who took to the streets at Land-B market near the Kopsiro Divisional headquarters claimed that the area representative at the Bungoma County Assembly, Benson Mukenda openly favours people from his native community.

They threatened to start collecting signatures and invoke the recall clause if he does not embrace inclusiveness.

Led by Eliud Chemosit, the demonstrators claimed that the MCA's community are the major beneficiaries of all the resources availed by the local County government to the ward despite being the minority.

"The Bungoma government has started several development projects but the MCA has ensured that they are implemented in zones where his people are. He has also ensured that financial resources from the county government like bursaries and loans only benefit people from one ethnic group," he said.

Chemosit also cited discrimination in the constitution of the committees like Ward Trade Loan, Roads and the Bursary Committee, which he claimed are composed of people from the MCA's community.

"The Committee members of these boards merely rubberstamp his position every time as they cannot say anything," said Chemosit.

"The county government early this year gave each ward free farm inputs including fertilizers and maize seeds for the poor and vulnerable groups, but he ensured that the items were distributed to his people," added Chemosit.

Leonard Juma, another protester accused the MCA of frustrating and interfering with the work of area Ward administrator, Sokwony Laikong, and refusing to let him run the office.

"We have information that Mukenda has refused to hand over the office fully to the ward administrator. He still has in his possession the official file that has a list of beneficiaries of bursaries and even cheque books. He should let the administrator do his work," explained Juma.

Bernard Wanyonyi, the Chairperson of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the sub-County appealed to the MCA to ensure he is all inclusive in his activities, expressing fear that the discrimination could lead to rise in tribal animosities.

"We have in the past witnessed bloody tribal clashes between the Sabaots and Bukusu. We have been staying in peace and we do not want a repeat of the same in our Kapkateny Ward. We are appealing to our Ward Representative to ensure there is fairness and balance in all activities he carries out," said Wanyonyi.

When reached for comment, Mukenda dismissed the claims raised by the demonstrators saying that time of politicking is now over. He said the demonstration was stage-managed by a few people who want to destroy his reputation by claiming he is biased.

"It is all politics and I am asking people who are interested in my seat to wait until 2017 when they can run against me if they so wish. But they should not incite the residents I represent," said Mukenda.

He said his leadership is all inclusive, noting that the chairman of the Ward Bursary Board is from the Sabaot community.

"They should demonstrate against the Bungoma Governor Ken Lusaka because most of the issued they raised can be addressed by the County government. At the Ward, we only implement what has been passed by the executive and I will be mad if I interfere with any project that seeks to assist all the people of Kapkateny Ward," explained Mukenda.

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