After missing in action for four years, he resurfaced back to the public announcing his bid for West Pokot’s gubernatorial seat ahead of the August polls.
He currently occupies the Deputy Governor’s seat for West Pokot but his physical absence from his constitutionally mandated position has sparked conversations on the interwebs.
“Where has he been? And who is he?” A comment shot up on Twitter.
His name is Dr Nicholas Atudonyang. He is a Texas-based neurosurgeon practicing in the United States.
He received his medical degree from University of Nairobi College of Health Sciences then traveled abroad for a master’s in emergency medicine at University of Texas. He has been in practice between 11-20 years.
In the 2017 General Election, Dr Atudonyang, 41, was elected jointly with Governor John Lonyangapuo on a KANU ticket then later flew to the US in 2018 to help the county in source for health equipment.
This sparked a petition to the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission and governor Lonyangapuo was summoned to reveal the whereabouts of his principal assistant.
Lonyangapuo defended Atudonyang saying he was the one who allowed him to go abroad and that Atudonyang was not using county funds for his stay abroad.
However, once he delivered the equipment, he opted to prolong his stay in the US and that is when a strife began between him and his boss, Governor Lonyangapuo.
As a result of that, his salary was terminated since then to “cut on costs” incurred by the county.
Appearing before the Senate in 2019, Lonyangapuo said: “After the equipment arrived, he prolonged his stay, so I told him now we can no longer have any reason to explain to anybody in West Pokot why you should continue being paid. Then he said his salary should be terminated.”
After returning back to the country last week, he claimed that his ‘salary choke’ was appropriate and his salary benefited other important needs of the county.
“I helped by reducing the county’s cost of operation. I am the DG who has done more than others. My office running cost is very low and as a result, we hired more staff with my salary. The county has hired up to 30 people,” he said in an interview on Citizen TV.
When asked whether there were any underlying issues between him and the governor, the Texas-based medic said “I have no beef with him at all. I have been respectful and we have had a good relationship throughout the years.”
In preparation for the August polls, Atudonyang was crowned a new Pokot leader at Amaya shrines in Baringo receiving the blessings of Pokot elders.
After the crowning, he lashed out at his boss, Governor Lonyangapuo accusing him of failing to unite the people of West Pokot.
The two will face off in the forthcoming gubernatorial race for West Pokot County.