Turkana Leaders Should Embrace Peace

Leaders in Turkana County need to work as a team in order to extricate their people from the vice of poverty and neglect.

For years the leaders have indulged in perennial quarrels sometimes over mundane and petty issues. Recently, the Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok has been involved in a war of words with other leaders over allegations of corruption and impropriety.

Nanok recently made what his supporters described as a triumphant entry into Lodwar town before addressing a public rally to deny claims of involvement in corruption. He is among 12 names of Governors appearing in a corruption list of shame released to Parliament by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The Governor and the Turkana County Executive member in-charge of Finance and Economic Planning Paul Nabuin are alleged to have paid ksh 14 million to a contractor for the construction of a non-existent bridge.

Nanok therefore arrived in Lodwar recently ready to do battle with all his perceived enemies. His motorcade was received by a huge crowd at the Lodwar airstrip, which escorted him to his offices from where he proceeded to spew vitriol at his detractors. However, as the leaders quarrel, the Turkana development agenda stands still.

Governor Nanok landed at the Lodwar airstrip in the company of his deputy, executive members and a number of County Assembly Members (MCAs): “On my arrival I headed straight to the office. They tried to lock me out but I forced myself into the office because this is a public office and the door is open to everyone. I together with my executive members will focus on development, we have done what we can for the last 2 years and now we will concentrate on the coming years so that we can achieve our ultimate goals,” Nanok told his cheering supporters.

He dismissed claims that the county government returned part of the development funds in the 2013/2014 budget to the national government.

He also defended the county tendering procedures stating that all tenders are advertised in the print media and circulated nationally.

He questioned the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) report that listed him among the 174 officials linked to graft allegations. The commission, he said, should thoroughly investigate any report it receives before publicizing it.

“Some reports are false accusations made against targeted individuals. In my case I blame our MPs, the Senator together with the Speaker of the Senate for spreading propaganda and feeding the public with wrong information which is defamatory,” said Nanok.

Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro was quick to deny claims of involvement in any plan to “politically assassinate the Turkana Governor”.

“We have not sat somewhere as the political leadership of Turkana County to discuss him and corruption. The best thing for him to do is to go to the EACC and clear his name. The governor should not localize a national issue and neither should he drag my name into it,” the speaker said.

Turkana south MP James Lomenen was equally dismissive, also distancing himself from the saga: “It is neither me, nor the senator who named him. It was the President through the EACC report submitted to him. Appearing on the list doesn’t mean he is guilty. Investigations will be carried out to prove his guilt or innocence.”

Meanwhile, Governor Nanok has moved to the High Court to challenge the report while seeking a public apology from the anti-corruption body.

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