President Ruto’s allies skip LREB 910th Summit
The severe political conflicts that have hampered the Lake Region Economic Bloc's (LREB) activities since its founding have come to light as a result of a decision by governors who support President William Ruto to skip the organization's 910th convention. The summit is a yearly high-level gathering of the leaders of the bloc and development partners to examine methods to energise and coordinate the economic vision of the 14 Lake Basin counties. Kisumu, Siaya, Migori, Homa Bay, Nyamira, Kisii, Kakamega, Bungoma, Vihiga, Busia, Trans Nzoia, Bomet, Kericho, and Nandi are the counties in question.
The county bosses who attended the event included the host Peter Anyang’ Nyongó (Kisumu), James Orengo (Siaya), Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay), Ochilo Ayacko (Migori), Simba Arati (Kisii) and Amos Nyaribo (Nyamira). Also present were Fernandes Baraza (Kakamega), Kenneth Lusaka (Bungoma), Paul Otuoma (Busia), George Natembeya (Trans Nzoia) and Wilber Ottichilo (Vihiga).
Governors Erick Mutai, Hillary Barchok, and Stephen Sang (Nandi) skipped the two-day event, which finished on Monday. However, Prof. Nyong'o informed attendees that Mr. Sang was out of the country whereas Nandi Deputy Governor Yulita Cheruiyot was present at the meeting.
Following the elections in August, the member counties' administrations were in a transitional period when the summit was held. Many delegates questioned if the counties in the Rift Valley were committed to the bloc, notwithstanding the governors' decision to avoid speaking directly on the subject. However, Wycliffe Oparanya, the former chairman of the bloc, highlighted finance issues, political undertones in counties, and organizational bureaucracy as major obstacles when he took the podium..
“We have established ourselves as non-political institutions but sometimes it is difficult to keep politics from institutions led by politicians. This is something the incoming governors and summit has to address so that it does not derail our dream, When we are here, we are not supposed to talk of Azimio or Kenya Kwanza, because we are here purely on economic issues. The political overtones will never miss but you have to address it so that our primary objective of improving the welfare of our people on the economic front is maintained.” Mr Oparanya said.
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