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February 17, 2019

Absentee Pokot deputy governor told to return to county or resign

Pokot deputy Governor Nicholas Atudonyang. Photo/courtesy
Pokot deputy Governor Nicholas Atudonyang. Photo/courtesy

Absentee West Pokot deputy governor Nicholas Atudonyang’s long professional sojourn in the United States has sparked off protests.

Students have given him a week to show up and work or resign from the post.

Atudonyang practices in Texas. However, he is also supposed to be the county Health executive although he is hardly ever in Kenya. Atudonyang spends a large part of his time in the US.

Atudonyang is said to be a neurosurgeon in Allen, Texas.

A group of student leaders yesterday said it is morally wrong for the deputy governor to treat his Kenyan job with disdain. Speaking at the Jeevanjee Gardens, Nairobi, the students accused Atudonyang of drawing a salary for work not done.

Among the West Pokot student leaders who addressed the press include Dennis Ruto (University of Nairobi), Hillary Chesoit (JKUAT) and Allan Rotich from Multi media University.

“Our deputy governor has not been in the country since elections. Once he was inaugurated and assumed office he left for the US to work there as a medical doctor. He has not been serving the people of West Pokot,”Ruto said.

He added the fact that he has been appointed Health executive has led to poor services.

“It is perturbing for us as university students to see that our deputy governor is not serving the people of West Pokot yet he is paid.” The students said Atudonyang’s commitment is in the US, not the county.

They expressed concern that despite petitioning the Senate to institute a probe, the process has stalled.This is also despite the fact that the matter was discussed at the Senate.

Ruto said they presented the petition 150 days ago.

“The Senate has violated the Constitution because the petition was supposed to be addressed in 60 days,” he said.

Ruto added that the Senate committee on Health will be in Eldoret to address the petition next week. “The core issues in the petition is the deteriorating healthcare services in the county.”

Read: Varsity students call for absentee West Pokot deputy governor's resign

The student said the deputy governor will form an integral part of the discussion because he is the Health executive. The university students demanded that Governor John Lonyangapuo explains circumstances under which someone miles away can be paid for work not done.

They said the county has qualified and competent professionals that can fill up the position.

Lonyangapuo did not pick calls or answer text messages when reached for comment.

JKUAT’s Chesoit said Lonyangapuo has been lying that he sent Atudonyang on an official visit to the US. The students called for further investigations. They said the deputy governor has gone against the Constitution guideline on leadership and integrity.

The Independent Pokot Leaders Forum says the deputy governor has been in the county for less than a month ever since he was sworn in.

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