By Peter Mutai
MPs snubbed a meeting called by community elders to chat the way forward following the promulgation of the new Constitution.
Mnyot Kipsigis Council of Elders Chairman Joseah Sang said the main agenda of the meeting was to reconcile community leaders after divisive referendum campaigns.
But conspicuously absent at the meeting were all the nine MPs from the community.
Only Roads Minister Franklin Bett and Belgut MP Charles Keter sent apologies.
Other MPs are Zakayo Cheruiyot (Kuresoi), Benjamain Langat (Ainamoi), Magerer Langat (Kipkelion), Julius Kones (Konoin), Beatrice Kones (Bomet), Isaac Ruto (Chepalungu) and Sotik’s Joyce Laboso.
Sang said there was need for leaders from the region to work as a team for the sake of development and map out strategies on how to reap maximum benefits brought about by the new supreme laws.
"We, as a community, must map out strategies in respect to the new system of government based on counties. We must put structures and the criteria to be used to elect people to represent the community at the county and national government levels," he added.
The council chairman said his team would advocate for greater involvement of the community in the management of the newly introduced county governments by electing men and women of integrity to all elective posts.
The meeting that was organised by the council and held at Tea Research Foundation in Kericho brought together more than 300 opinion leaders, elders, Church leaders and professionals from the community.
Representatives from Kipkelion, Kuresoi, Nakuru, Konoin, Bureti, Sotik, Bomet, Chepalungu, Ainamoi and Belgut constituencies attended the meeting.
"We want all leaders from the Kipsigis community to work as a team irrespective of the stand they took during the referendum. We want to forget the past and move forward," Sang added.
Among the resolutions made was the formation of the South Rift Development Forum.
According to the resolutions read by the council’s secretary, Ambassador Joshua Terer, the forum would be a vehicle to explore investment opportunities and spearhead development in Kericho and Bomet counties.
The leaders unanimously agreed there was need for civic education across the region to enable locals understand the contents of the new laws, especially on election of their representatives.
The council said the results of the referendum should not divide the community, saying leaders should instead unite.