Stephen Sang defeats powerful men in gubernatorial race

Wednesday April 26 2017

Nandi Senator Stephen Sang on April 25, 2017

Nandi Senator Stephen Sang on April 25, 2017 clinched Jubilee ticket for the country’s gubernatorial race. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

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Nandi Senator Stephen Sang pulled a surprise Tuesday in the battle for the governorship of the county and is now in line to become the youngest governor in the country. 

Senator Sang, 32, was one of the outsiders in the Jubilee Party contest for the county’ stop seat but as results trickled in late Monday it became clear he was headed for a surprise victory.

The county being a Jubilee zone, a winner in the primaries is almost assured of being elected in the General Election.

Local analysts had predicted a tough battle pitting incumbent Governor Cleophas Lagat, former Cabinet Minister Henry Kosgey and ex-Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Felix Koskei. 

His age had been cited as his biggest undoing as most of the analysts said Nandi voters might not be willing to entrust their county with someone his age.  

However, by the end of Tuesday, he had performed well in all the six constituencies, Nandi Hills, Emgwen, Tindiret, Aldai, Mosop and Chesumei. He beat all the other aspirants in their home constituencies in a showing that caught many by surprise.

By Tuesday evening he had garnered 68, 239 votes from five constituencies ahead of Mr Kosgey who had 36, 425. Mr Koskei had 22453 and Governor Lagat was a distant fourth with 17, 559. Mosop results had not been tallied but they were not expected to cause any significant changes.

The Senator declared his interest in the seat just four months ago much later than his rivals, former Cabinet Minister and veteran politician, Mr Henry Kosgey, ex-Cabinet Secretary Felix Koskei.

Mr Sang, a lawyer by profession, had taken on the incumbent Governor Cleophas Lagat blaming him for the poor development of the county priding itself as the source of (athletic) champions.

The senator had not been given a chance by local analysts. Most had predicted a close battle between Mr Kosgey and Mr Lagat.

According to political analysts in the region, Senator Sang is accredited for his active role in the Senate where has sponsored a number of Bills and been eloquent in debates. This could have made him attractive to most voters in the county who were yearning for change.

“As a senator, Mr Sang proved to be an articulate leader who played his role well as a senator but intrigues in gubernatorial race are a different game,” said Sylvester Talam, Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Nandi Central branch, recently.

In 2013, Mr Sang surprised many when he clinched the URP ticket and went on to win the seat to becoming the youngest elected senator in the country.

He has been active in the Senate and is accredited with many Bills including one of the first Bills to become a law though was later declared illegal by the constitutional court. The law which sought to establish county development boards was fiercely opposed by the governors but was easily passed by both Houses and was assented to by President Uhuru Kenyatta. The governors successfully sought its dismissal in the High Court.

The Senator has been a vice-chairman of the Senate Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee. The House team is chaired by Busia Senator Amos Wako.

 Last year, he was unanimously voted to join the House Speaker’s Panel after his Elgeyo-Marakwet counterpart Kipchumba Murkomen left to become Deputy Majority Leader.