The National Vision Party on Tuesday nominated former Kipkelion MP Daniel Tanui as its candidate for the Kericho senatorial seat.
Bishop Tanui will now fight it out with the Jubilee Alliance Party’s Aaron Cheruiyot and Kanu’s Paul Sang, who have both been endorsed by their respective parties.
Speaking at a Nairobi hotel after receiving his certificate from party leader Nicholas Biwott, Bishop Tanui touted his development record when he served as Kipkelion MP in his bid to capture the seat, which fell vacant after Senator Charles Keter was appointed Energy Cabinet Secretary.
“I assure the people of Kericho that I will work for them. They know my track record when I served as MP and assistant minister. I will do it more,” he said.
He said that his decision to vie for the seat was an outcome from the push by people in the county who wanted an experienced politician to complete the remaining term.
“The people have asked me to contest and the party has agreed to support me in this campaign. I will work to unite the people of Kericho and play my oversight role as expected.
Mr Biwott, a former powerful minister, said the NVP will work with the people of Kericho to develop the region. He expressed hopes that Bishop Tanui will win the seat.
“The National Vision Party has weighed its options and feel that Bishop Tanui is the right candidate for the Kericho seat. We will support him to the end,” he said flanked by party secretary general Mwarere wa Mwachai.
As NVP was nominating its candidate, the Jubilee coalition launched a massive campaign plan for its candidate to ensure that they recapture the seat.
Although Kanu entered into a post-election agreement to work with Jubilee after the 2013 elections, it has refused to wind up and join the yet to be formed Jubilee Party and is bracing for a major fight for the seat that is set to be hotly contested in the March 7 by-election.
The youths belonging to Jubilee have also warned the coalition’s bigwigs not to abandon Mr Cheruiyot, following claims that the party had been silently sponsoring someone else during the nominations.
Elegeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen on Tuesday said they had put an elaborate campaign plan to promote their candidate at the same time market the new Jubilee Party.
They will also be seeking to extinguish Kanu’s influence so that Jubilee retains the seat vacated by CS Keter.
“We have set up a strong team including local MPs and MCAs to lead the campaign for us. At the national level Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki will be leading and I will be supporting him. This is our seat and will make sure we retain it. Kanu is not a threat to us,” said Murkomen, also the Senate Deputy Majority Leader.
The Deputy President William Ruto is also expected to be in the County to campaign for Mr Cheruiyot before the March 7 elections. The coalition is also looking at the possibility of asking President Uhuru Kenyatta to make a visit there.
Local MPs have already been asked to start doing door-to-door campaigns before they are joined by Jubilee national leaders.
Mr Cheruiyot beat favourites Mr Franklin Bett and Mr Magerer Langat during Jubilee’s primaries on Saturday in an unexpected outcome interpreted as voters’ defiance to the party’s wishes. The coalition was said to have been secretly supporting Mr Sammy Chepkwony who emerged second.
“The party should really take this by-election seriously. If Jubilee loses to Kanu, which is a rare possibility, then you expect problems with the proposed merger,” said Jubilee coalition youth leader Gideon Keter.