JAP celebrates Kericho win, Kanu rejects results

Jubilee held victory rallies across the county to celebrate the win which was seen as cementing Ruto’s standing in Rift Valley politics.

Wednesday March 9 2016

Newly elected Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot (left) is joined in celebrating his victory by Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and other leaders in Kericho on March 8, 2016. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Newly elected Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot (left) is joined in celebrating his victory by Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and other leaders in Kericho on March 8, 2016. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By NATION TEAM
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Kanu on Tuesday accused the electoral commission of rigging the Kericho by-election in favour of the Jubilee Alliance Party.

The party also rejected the results and promised to release a dossier detailing the irregularities it claims marred the election, won by a landslide by JAP’s Aaron Cheruiyot who polled 109,358 votes to beat Kanu’s Paul Sang got 56,307.

Jubilee on Tuesday held victory rallies across the county to celebrate the win which was seen as cementing Deputy President William Ruto’s standing in Rift Valley politics.

The by-election was hotly contested with the Kanu team led by Baringo Senator Gideon Moi and independent-minded Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto, now viewed as politically wounded.

But even then, an impressive performance by the resurgent Kanu could raise debate about the strength of the DP’s grip of the populous South Rift.

Tuesday, Governor Ruto led other top Kanu campaigners including Kanu secretary general Nick Salat and MPs Oscar Sudi (Kapseret) and Johana Ng’eno (Emurua Dikirr) in dismissing the results, saying they did not reflect the will of Kericho voters.

“We are disappointed with the manner in which IEBC conducted the election as they appear to have had a clear working partnership with JAP,” he said.

At the Kanu press conference, Mr Sang warned that the inefficiency of the electoral agency could plunge the country into mass rioting in the future.

'SUSPICIOUS HIGH SPEED'

They questioned the transparency of the process, claiming that the returns were too high for an election in which the turnout was significantly low, ranging between 40 and 50 per cent.

Mr Ng’eno claimed that some of the results were announced before the counting was concluded at some polling centres.

He said Kanu would support calls to overhaul the polls team ahead of elections next year.

“IEBC is on its deathbed and it has totally been exposed as a failure and should not be allowed to conduct the next General Election,” said Mr Ng’eno.

Governor Ruto said the IEBC only published the votes on their tallying boards, without indicating the exact polling stations from where they were drawn.

He also queried the “suspicious high speed” with the which the results were being released.

“It took the IEBC only three hours to count and tally votes for Kericho with 30 wards and many more hours to do the same in Malindi Constituency where only four wards were involved in the by-election. There is a problem somewhere,” said the governor.

They accused the electoral commission of having turned a blind eye to what they claimed were massive irregularities, allegedly including mass voter bribery by high-placed officials of the national government, officials of the provincial administration as well as heads of parastatals.

JAP VICTORY RALLIES

But as Kanu complained over the process, Senator-elect Cheruiyot and other JAP leaders including Senate Majority leader Kithure Kindiki and his Deputy Kipchumba Murkomen had nothing but praise for the IEBC, saying it had delivered a free and fair election.

Addressing supporters after receiving the winner’s certificate from the electoral commission, Mr Cheruiyot thanked Kericho voters for backing him, adding that they had done well by choosing to back a party which had a vision for the county.

He was accompanied to his victory rallies by his wife Linah in a move which could eventually bring to an end allegations that the 29-year-old was not married, a factor which was used against him by some of his opponents.

“I thank all the people who stood by me and trusted me for the job. People called us rookies, jokers and all sorts of names but God has been good to us. I thank my wife for standing solidly with me despite the propaganda and rumours. She is a strong woman,” he said.

Mr Murkomen denied the claims by Kanu that the vote had been rigged.

“Kanu doesn’t know we have heard that script before because it is synonymous with Cord,” he said.

Reported by Timothy Kemei, Emeka-Mayaka Gekara and Anita Chepkoech.

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