Tough test for Jubilee party in Kericho mini-poll

Friday January 15 2016

JAP Secretary General Veronica Maina (left), URP deputy Secretary general Leah Ntimama (centre) and URP Organising secretary George Oyugi during a press conference on Kericho Senate by-election at JAP offices in Nairobi on January 13, 2016. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

JAP Secretary General Veronica Maina (left), URP deputy Secretary general Leah Ntimama (centre) and URP Organising secretary George Oyugi during a press conference on Kericho Senate by-election at JAP offices in Nairobi on January 13, 2016. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By TIMOTHY KEMEI
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Candidates for the Kericho Senatorial by-election will on Saturday battle it out for the Jubilee Alliance Party ticket in what is seen as a major test for the new party.

JAP officials were on Friday forced to come out and assure the seven candidates that the process will be free and fair following concerns of plans by its top brass to influence the nomination in favour of a certain candidate ahead of the March 7 mini-poll.

And should the process be botched, there are fears that the Opposition, particularly Gideon Moi’s Kanu, could be a beneficiary.

Raila Odinga’s ODM and the National Vision Party (NVP) associated with former Minister Nicholas Biwott are also eyeing the Kericho Senate seat.

On Wednesday, former roads minister Franklin Bett pointed accused unnamed party officials who he said were planning to give the ticket to a preferred candidate.

The party Secretary-General Veronica Maina who led a strong delegation of national officials to Kericho declared that there was no preferred candidate.

“Proper arrangements have been put in place to deliver a process that will be free and transparent and free from any manipulation or interference,” she said.

Mrs Maina said that the county tallying centre will be based at the Kericho Teachers Training College.

“We will also rely on the IEBC list of registered voters, which means only those registered to vote will be allowed to do so. The polling stations will open at 8am and voting will be closed at 4pm to give adequate time for vote counting,” she said.

LIST OF CANDIDATES

Franklin Bett

He served as State House Comptroller between 1994 and 1996. He was Kenya’s High Commissioner to Australia. He was two term MP – one as a nominated member and the second term as Bureti MP.

Served as Roads Minister between 2009 and 2013. Mr Bett just recently defected to JAP from ODM.

Magerer Langat

He is a former ODM executive director who entered the national political arena in 2007 after beating then Kipkelion MP Sammy Ruto at the ODM primaries. He has also served as Energy assistant minister after the suspension of current Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter.

Sammy Motiriot Chepkwony

He is a former National Housing Corporation Chairman who lost the Kericho gubernatorial primaries in 2013 to current governor Paul Chepkwony. He is considered a Jubilee favorite after sticking with the party since his 2013 loss. He hails from Kipkelion.

Aaron Cheruiyot

He is banking his victory on the youth as he has been reaching out to them with a message of generational change in politics by hosting various football tournaments across the county.

Festus Mautor

A former political advisor in the Office of Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony and former United States Marine officer, though relatively new in the political arena, the youthful politician has expressed confidence that he had done enough across the county to popularise himself ahead of Saturday’s nomination duel.

Joel Kirui

He is a Russian-trained economist who has homes in Kipkelion and Belgut constituencies and has established himself as an international businessman with economic interests in the United Kingdom, and has also served as a board member of Chemelil Sugar Company.