The political tug-of-war between Governor Alex Tolgos and his deputy Wisley Rotich yesterday went a notch higher as the former accused the latter of defiance and working with his detractors.
Mr Tolgos claimed Mr Rotich is using the office of the deputy president to fight him while angling for the governorship next year: "I have been thinking that the friendship between my deputy governor and the DP was for the good of the county. Little did I know that Mr Rotich had gone to gossip and tell lies about me."
A visibly angry Mr Tolgos said he does not understand why his deputy governor insists that he is being frustrated while he enjoys privileges including security, cars, and aides, all paid for by the county. Mr Rotich and a number of Deputy President William Ruto's allies have of late trained their guns on Governor Tolgos, accusing him of frustrating his deputy and being disrespectful to the country's second-in-command.
"I understand that the deputy governor is doing a great job. He is a good man who is working hard despite the frustrations he is receiving from the governor's office," said the Dr Ruto when he visited the county on Saturday. He accused Mr Tolgos of betrayal but said he has forgiven him. The "traitor" tag was similarly alluded to by other speakers during a packed rally in Iten.
"The governor was my classmate in high school. When he was on the brink of losing his gubernatorial seat during the last elections, it was the deputy president who stood here and convinced people to vote for him," said Senator Kipchumba Murkomen.
He accused the governor of being ungrateful for going against Dr Ruto and frustrating Mr Rotich, who is loyal to the DP. The governor however refuted claims that he is frustrating his deputy, saying they have been enjoying a good working relationship ever since he picked him to be his running mate when Mr Rotich was a mere director at the social services department.
Governor Tolgos is the Rift Valley Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) coordinator, while Mr Rotich is affiliated to the DP's Tangatanga brigade that is against the referendum push.
Mr Rotich hosted the deputy president on his visit to the county on Saturday in an event that was given a wide berth by the governor. However, during the Iten rally on Saturday, Mr Rotich, who has lately been outspoken in his support for the deputy president, steered clear of talk of being frustrated by the governor.
"I associate very well with the idea of a bottom-up approach in dealing with our problems as a country. This is what the 'hustler' narrative is about and I fully support it," he said.