Buzeki to challenge Mandago as independent candidate

Thursday May 11 2017

Uasin Gishu Governor aspirant Bundotich Zedekiah Kiprop popularly known as Buzeki addresses the press at Arap Moi Primary School polling station on April 21, 2017. PHOTO | DENNIS LUBANGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Uasin Gishu Governor candidate Bundotich Zedekiah Kiprop, popularly known as Buzeki. He would win if polls were held today, Infotrak poll shows. FILE PHOTO | DENNIS LUBANGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By DENNIS LUBANGA
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By WYCLIFF KIPSANG
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The number of candidates vying as independent candidates in North Rift continue to rise with the latest being Uasin Gishu gubernatorial candidate Zedekiah Bundotich alias Buzeki.

Mr Buzeki was trounced in the Jubilee Party primaries by the incumbent Jackson Mandago.

On Thursday, the Jubilee Party ticket loser sought to dispel rumours doing rounds on social media that he had given up the race and gone back to his businesses.

“We have received calls in regard to a post. Be informed that it is a fake account orchestrating malice. Buzeki is still in the race. His clearance as an independent candidate was done on May 3,” read a statement send to newsrooms by his campaign team.

Mr Buzeki had challenged Mr Mandago’s win arguing that the party primaries held last month were marred with irregularities.

AINABKOI SEAT

But the Jubilee party National Elections Appeals Tribunal dismissed the appeal on grounds that it lacked sufficient evidence to establish that irregularities occurred to influence the outcome of the entire nomination exercise.

During the party primaries, Mr Mandago garnered 126,681 votes against Mr Buzeki’s 82,869.

Also vying as an independent candidate is long time personal aide to former powerful cabinet minister Nicholas Biwott, William Chepkut who has been cleared to vie for the Ainabkoi parliamentary seat.

Mr Chepkut lost his bid for the Jubilee Party ticket to incumbent Samuel Chepkong’a during a repeat of the primaries last Saturday.

During the fresh poll, Mr Chepkong’a garnered 13, 819 votes against Mr Chepkut who managed 13, 729 votes.

BRUISING BATTLE

But Mr Chepkut has told Mr Chepkong’a who is also the Justice and Legal Affairs committee chairperson to prepare for a bruising battle during the August 8 elections.

Mr Chepkut through his agent Andrew Kattam dismissed the nominations as a sham.

“It is quite unfortunate that the Jubilee Party primaries for Ainabkoi parliamentary seat were rigged and marred with irregularities despite raising concerns with the relevant authorities. The results did not reflect the will of the people," Mr Kattam told the Nation on phone.

Mr Kattam reiterated that Mr Chepkut will support President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election bid.

Jubilee Party conducted fresh primaries at Munyaka Polling station after Mr Chepkonga successfully appealed claiming that the results of the earlier exercise were inflated causing him to lose.

During the previous party nominations, Chepkut won by a margin of 129 votes.

He had previously garnered 13,685 votes while the MP got 13,556 votes which Mr Chepkong’a disputed.

In his appeal, Mr Chepkonga claimed that some polling stations, among them Munyaka were left open until 3am on the nominations day yet they were supposed to be closed at 5pm.