Alfred Kiptoo Keter is a 36 year old humble Kenyan politician currently representing the people of Nandi hills as a member of parliament in the jubilee administration, a seat he got through the United Republican Party which is headed by the deputy president Mr William Ruto. Alfred keter is also a father with one kid.
Alfred Keter is humble looking young politician with a baby face and yet he is not new to controversy. Back in his schooling days, he got expelled from Egerton University where he was undertaking his under graduate degree in agribusiness for apparently rebelling against the university authorities.
Mr keter has been making news headlines of late with an alleged incident where he is recorded on a hidden camera threatening the Gilgil weighbridge officials demanding the release of a truck belonging to a nominated member of parliament that had allegedly been detained due to lack of proper documentation. Mr keter is captured on camera threatening the weighbridge officials with harsh repercussions claiming that the officials have been called by several top ranked government officials among them state house controller and chairman of parliament security committee Asman Kamama on the matter yet they[the weighbridge officials] did not pick the calls.
The weighbridge incident took place at the Gilgil weighbridge a government institution that is mandated to check on weight limits of heavy commercial trucks plying the roads via the Nairobi Nakuru highway to ensure that all trucks maintain the required set weight limits so as to avoid destruction of the roads by overloading. The Gilgil weighbridge is locate along the Nairobi Nakuru highway in in Gilgil in Nakuru county some few kilometers on your way to Nakuru past Naivasha. Gilgil is a suburban setting located between two urban areas that is Nakuru and Naivasha. The main economic activity of the area is agriculture although there are some few industries among them the diatomite industry and the Ndume Farm Machineries Industries that is mainly involved in manufacturing of farm farm equipments.
The weighbridge is manned and guarded by police officers who are deployed at the equipment to ensure law and order and necessary protocol is followed and other officials with the skills to operate the weighing machines at the bridge. Now during the incident, Mr Keter in the company of fellow member of parliament nominated on a U.R.P ticket Sonia Birdi a Kenyan of Indian origin and the alleged owner of the detained truck stormed the premises threatening fellow public servants but of lower rank demanding that they release the truck since they, the M.P’s are the law makers and that they can change the law any time. In his own words, Mr Keter said “we will reverse the law… who is the owner of this company?’’. He is heard asking the officials. “We are waiting to hear from whom? ….. Jesus Christ to call you? …. Whoever has that contract will lose it…I don’t fight small battles….you will lose your jobs tomorrow.’’ He is heard threatening.
Historically police officers are known to bow to pressure from senior government officers including members of parliament as police officers regard such individuals as their bosses. Not often would you find that in such an incident as the weighbridge incident that police officers remain adamant and fail to heed to demands from such authorities for example for this case to release the truck by a member of parliament. Such would mainly be due to fear by the officers of being sacked due to the belief that such high ranking people in government are well connected to their employers and that they may use their influence against them. Generally you will also find that police officers are used as security men and bodyguards for M.P’s and thus you find that police officers in most cases regarding them as their bosses.
In an ideal sense, members of parliament are the law makers while the police officers are there to implement the laws that are put in place by the members of parliament. The weighbridge saga thus provides us with a situation where by a lawmaker is trying to use his rank and power to influence those who are put in place to enforce the same laws for their own malicious gain in the name of `we are the law makers’. This is clearly noted where Mr Keter claims that they are the law makers and that they will break the law. Had the officer bowed to the demand s of the member of parliament, then it means that the institution’s and the national’s value as a whole would have been put at stake as the M.P would have had his way but the effects of the same would be affect not just those involved in the case but most people who use the road infrastructure in the long term due to wearing out as a result.
For this weighbridge case, the allowed behavior is exactly what the officer did by detaining the truck rightfully due to its lack of proper documentation to enable it to transit on the roads. The laws should apply to all and not sparingly to some while leaving others regardless of one’s position be it in the public sector including government or private sector. The effects of applying the law sparingly do not only affect those involved but the general public. For this case, the expected reaction of the truck owner should have been to acquire the necessary paperwork required for the passage of their truck to its destination.
A close look at this incident portrays a picture of individuals with high ranking positions who use their statuses to influence decisions to go in their favor and for their own personal gains in the society. But you find that most such cases are closely kept secrets away from the public eye apart from the few that that somehow find their way to the public such like the weighbridge incident. Once such like cases find their way to the public eye, you find that those involved find their reputation being destroyed as have to face criticism from the general public as well as from their colleagues who you find that most of the time they disown them in public. Such like people also will now have to find time to walk through the corridors of justice in case their cases are forwarded to the justice system through the courts. On the other hand you find that the police officers due to their bravery are widely commended for work well done and in some cases they may even receive job promotions. Such officer will then have shade a positive light on the organization and hence raising public confidence in the organization.
The weighbridge saga can be related to the case of former deputy chief justice Ms Nancy Baraza where she allegedly insulted a security guard who insisted on conducting a security check on her as per the guidelines of the institution to which she was employed. The former deputy chief justice resisted being taken through the security check on grounds that she was a senior government official and that the guard should know that. Such is an ideal case since justice was well served against her as her reputation was destroyed and she lost her job as well.
This incident provides a scenario where public servants misuse their positions to influence certain individuals to dance to their tune and make decisions that goes against the general ethic but to their favor. According to me, the officials were right to ground the truck due to its lack of proper documentations and as well as remaining adamant and not bowing to the pressure by the M.P
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