Why CS Murkomen was heckled in Kabarnet

A football tournament in Baringo County ended prematurely on Sunday evening after players and fans heckled down Roads and Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen who has sponsored the North Rift games.

The Roads CS was forced to cut short his speech and left the Kabarnet ASK showground in a huff, with other political leaders in tow.

Protestors were angry over the alleged importation of players in a Mogotio team in the finals dubbed ‘Governor’s Cup.’

The match was also attended by Baringo Governor Benjamin Cheboi and his Elgeyo Marakwet counterpart Wisley Rotich, Baringo Senator William Cheptumo, Woman Representative Florence Jematia, Mogotio MP Reuben Kiborek and his Tiaty counterpart William Kamket among other local leaders.

It was ironic that the North Rift tournament sponsored by the CS and aimed to tap talent and promote peaceful co-existence among communities in Baringo, West Pokot, Turkana, and Elgeyo Marakwet counties ended up in a chaotic show at the Sunday game.

The tournament is expected to culminate in finals expected to take place in Kapenguria, West Pokot County.

“Two teams will go for the finals which will be held in Kapenguria in West Pokot and they will play their game on Saturday before the finals on Sunday because I don’t want people to fight. I don’t want our youths to fight and so we must agree on this. The Governor will look for an ideal day for the finals of the Baringo Governor’s Cup,” Mr Murkomen had managed to say, amid the heckling from the youths who were insisting on fairness.

“I sponsored this football match to bring peace and I do not want people to fight. See you in Kapenguria,” added the CS amid the deafening jeers, as he hurriedly left the playing field with other leaders.

Before chaos erupted, the leaders had joined the disgruntled teams attempting to quell the situation, but their pleas to have the match continue to hit a dead snag after protesting youths stayed put, insisting it wouldn’t kick off until the issues of contention were ironed out.

The players and fans who filled the showground protested that Chemogoch FC from Mogotio Sub-County, which was to play against Ptiki FC from Tiaty West in the finals had incorporated players from other teams that had been defeated at the ward levels.

Players from Kabarnet and Delta FC who had earlier played against the Chemogoch team at the ward levels also joined in the protest, claiming that despite launching their complaints, the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) had allegedly ignored their pleas.

Kabarnet MCA Ernest Kibet termed it ironic that the football tournament was aimed at bringing peace among communities, but the officials were unfair to the players.

“Anything that is aimed at bringing peace must have a balance and should not be seen as if it is targeting financial gain or involving any form of inducement or high-handedness of some officials. When we launched our complaints to the officials, they were adamant and pushed for the match to proceed. That is not peace because they wanted the teams to play by force, despite the issues of contention and we cannot allow that,” said MCA Kibet.

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