Mohamed Maalim, the newly-appointed Rift Valley Regional Commissioner has his work cut out.
Maalim was yesterday unveiled as the replacement for outgoing Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya who resigned on Wednesday to vie for the Trans Nzoia gubernatorial seat.
As the former Makueni County Commissioner takes over the regional office, he will strive to fit in the big shoe that Natembeya has left.
Natembeya while announcing his resignation said the person taking over him should not try to fit in his shoe. The successor, according to Natembeya, should get his shoe size.
“To my successor, put on your shoe, not mine. I am sure the person coming will manage the region and do a good job,” said Natembeya in his last speech.
A full tray on Maalim’s new table has on it major challenges, some of which his predecessors unsuccessfully battled with during their stint in the country’s largest administrative unit.
These include recurring ethnic violence, cattle rustling, banditry, land disputes, retrogressive cultures, environmental conservation, and an easily politically destabilised region.
Although the cases have reduced, ethnic violence in the Rift has historically been precipitated by political differences, limited natural resources, and land ownership.
Among the 14 Rift Valley counties, Nakuru and Uasin Gishu are among areas considered as major hot spots for electoral violence but have enjoyed peace since 2008 when the country experienced its deadliest ethnic clashes.
The region averted plunging into further chaos in the 2013 and 2017 polls after President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto brought their communities together.
As the country gears for the August 2022 elections, there is a growing concern on whether the region will pass the litmus test as the two leaders have reverted to opposing political factions.
“Never again shall we allow our people to go to war over political differences. We must respect individual convictions about politics,” said Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui.