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COUNTY POLITICS: It’s renewed rivalry in race for Kericho senatorial seat


It’s renewed rivalry in race for Kericho seat

Among those seeking to unseat Mr Cheruiyot are Mr Bett, Mr Chepkwony and Kipkelion politician David Mutai.

Last year, Kericho County found itself in the heat of a vicious political campaign following the appointment of former Senator Charles Keter as Energy Cabinet Secretary.

The mini-poll ended with the election of Aaron Cheruiyot, on March 8 last year, making him the youngest senator in Kenya, after a gruelling battle with Paul Sang of the Kenya African National Union (Kanu).

Mr Cheruiyot surprised many by trouncing political heavyweights among them former Roads Minister Franklin Bett, former National Housing Corporation board chairman Sammy Chepkwony and former Kipkelion MP Magerer Langat - to clinch the Jubilee Party ticket.

Barely a year later, the Senator finds himself in a near similar position.

He is facing the same people he defeated in last year’s by-election with the exception of Mr Sang and Mr Langat, who have opted to vie for the Bureti and Kipkelion West parliamentary seats respectively.

JUBILEE PRIMARIES

Among those seeking to unseat Mr Cheruiyot are Mr Bett, Mr Chepkwony and Kipkelion politician David Mutai.

All the four had clashed in last year’s polls, with Mr Cheruiyot beating Mr Bett and Mr Chepkwony during the Jubilee party primaries and defeating Mr Mutai, who had vied on a New Democrats Party ticket during the main election.

In this year’s election, Mr Mutai has, however, switched his allegiance and will now vie for the Kericho Senate on a Kanu ticket.

This, he hopes, will give him a major boost in the race.

His being in the race is particularly important as he is the only candidate for the post who is not affiliated to Jubilee.

DEVELOPMENT AGENDA

Without his candidature, the senate election in Kericho County would have come to a close with the Jubilee nominations slated for April 21.

A teacher by profession, the 45-year old says that if elected, he will lead the County into an ‘era of excellence in the economic and social fronts.’

He says he will achieve this by ensuring unity is maintained among all political leaders in the county.

“My priority is to bring leaders of this county together. We will need to sit together and determine how best to drive the development agenda,” he says.  

He also pledges to draw up a piece of legislation, which if approved, will compel the National Government to set aside funds to pay a certain amount of money as a stipend to jobless but educated people as a way of boosting their purchasing power.

CAMPAIGN STRATEGIES

The four aspirants have in the meantime, lined up campaign strategies with each person banking on the support of residents from their respective home constituencies to bag the Jubilee ticket.

Mr Cheruiyot is from Belgut Constituency, while Mr Bett from Bureti constituency.

Both Mr Chepkwony and Mr Mutai hail from Kipkelion East Constituency, making it an area to watch in the election, should Mr Chepkwony triumph in the Jubilee nominations.

Both Mr Bett and Mr Chepkwony are campaigning on a platform of change; telling residents to relieve Mr Cheruiyot of his duties, having failed to play his role as a senator as had been expected of him.

Mr Bett has particularly not shied away from telling voters, during his campaigns, that the Senate was designed an institution for “senior citizens” to solve problems facing the country.

UNLIKELY TERRITORY

He claims that Mr Cheruiyot had found himself in ‘an unlikely territory’ when he was elected to office last year.

He urged the voters of Bureti to back his bid, pointing out that he was best suited for the job because of his experience, which will enable him to represent the region in the House largely dominated by his age-mates.

“The senate is meant for elderly statesmen and women.

“Young people were outnumbered in the Senate and often looked out of place while debating in the midst of their political seniors,” he says.

Mr Chepkwony expressed surprise that some areas in Kericho did not have a constant water supply, forcing women and girls in the area to travel long distances in search of the precious commodity.

“I am running because I want to make Kericho County better and I am asking the Kericho people to support my bid and pray for me,” he says.