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Baringo choir slept in a bus only to excel in the National Festival

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Baringo County Choir defied odds to top in the just concluded Kenya Music and Cultural Festival (KMCF) in Meru town.

 

Due to insufficient funds it forced the 32-member team to sleep inside the bus they were traveling in a night before attending the festival.

 

“Although we arrived late and tired but we managed to take the lead with the song ‘Kenya my pride’ of class 621” Music Director Harrison Okiri told media in Kabarnet town today.

 

The 92nd edition of the National festival which kicked off on 23rd to 29th November, attracted over 30,000 participants from across the 47 counties.

 

The well-prepared team also won second and third positions in the classes 107, 400 and 431 respectively.

 

“We were supposed to arrive on 23rd but due logistical challenges we arrived late on 25th so we unfortunately missed to participate in one piece of class 620” Okiri said.

 

He said with the meagre sh3000 allowances per person they could not afford spacious rooms in town for the three days.

 

However, Okiri said they were forced to put up in the cold night inside their bus which they parked outside an open air petrol station.

 

They said their ambition to get the chance one day to attend National events and entertain the head of state has hit stones owing to endless sabotage by cartels.

 

The group which was established in 2014 under the former Governor Benjamin Cheboi incorporates 42 members majority of who are jobless youths from the county.

 

“Some of us are cobblers, market traders and boda boda traders, we formed the group with passion so we could educate the people and avoid idleness” the group chairman Edwin Korir said.

 

Korir further said when Governor Stanley Kiptis took over in 2017, he replaced them with the ‘County Staff Choir’ saying since then they feel sidelined.

 

“As we slept inside the bus and even didn’t get water to bath, our colleagues from the county spent in spacious hotels, although they did not perform much” he said.

 

They also said the uniforms purchased to them by Governor Cheboi were faded and wearing out, so they needed new ones.

 

To add bitter lemon to the insult they said they received abuse and ridicule from their counterparts, ‘saying after all you have got nothing and you won’t go anywhere’

 

“Even though we don’t work in the county but we deserve respect and recognition because with our passion we are making our county proud” Korir said.

 

He said so far since inception the county government owes them about sh100,000 allowances they claim being promised after performing in the public functions.

 

“We feel some cartels are sabotaging us because of late we are not being invited to the national functions” he said.

 

They cited the recent Mashujaa Day on October 20, saying their fate also hangs on the balance if they will perform during Jamhuri Day on December 12 and the imminent Kimalel Goat Auction.

 

However, County Education, Sports and Culture Executive Thomas Ole’ Nongonop said he has not heard of such injustices against the county Choir.

 

“If there are then let me inquire from my colleagues and bosses because to me such discriminations are unacceptable” he said.

 

Ole’Nongonop said he wants an all inclusive environment in his department where all cultural and art participants are treated equally without favoritism.

-Joseph Kangogo





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