Baringo up for grabs as losers in UDA polls go independent
United Democratic Alliance is facing an uphill task in the Baringo county gubernatorial race after losers in primaries teamed up against Benjamin Cheboi, who clinched the party’s ticket.
Governor Stanley Kiptis has joined forces with Richard Koech, who had initially ditched UDA for Chama Cha Mashinani, led by former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto.
Kiptis has nominated Koech, the former Assembly Clerk as his running mate, and will vie on an Independent ticket come August 9 polls.
Eldama Ravine MP Moses Lessonet, who also lost in the UDA primaries in April has also opted to run as an independent. He has settled on former Kenya School of Government Director, Kabarnet branch, Isaac Chebon as his running-mate.
The perennial Ruto-Kanu rivalry is playing out considering that Chebon is a close ally of Baringo Senator Gideon Moi. Chebon unsuccessfully vied for the seat in 2017 on a Kanu ticket.
Though he is yet to make a formal announcement, Gideon is said to be plotting to defend his seat.
The move is likely to set another stage for a duel with Ruto’s ally, William Cheptumo (Baringo North MP) who clinched the UDA Senate ticket.
Ruto and Gideon have been embroiled in a protracted supremacy battle for control of the vote-rich Rift Valley.
Cheboi, who was beaten by a huge margin by Kiptis in the 2017 General Election, made a comeback during UDA primaries and garnered 45,666 votes, followed by Lessonet with 30,588 votes.
Kiptis came a distant third with 25,976 votes followed by former Tourism Principal Secretary Fred Segor who managed 16,362 votes.
Cheboi has settled for Charles Kipng’ok, a corporate executive as his running-mate in the August polls.
Cheboi told People Daily that having served as the pioneer governor, he laid the foundation to improve the living standards of the people.
“I thank the people of Baringo for giving me a second chance. I pledge to come back and complete all the projects we did not complete during my first term,” Cheboi said.
Kiptis on the other hand claims a majority of residents, especially in the far-flung areas, did not vote in the primaries.
“Some ballot papers were filled out by individuals in favour of one of the aspirants,” Kiptis claimed.
He singled out Tiaty East and West as areas where ballot papers were allegedly filled out in favour of an aspirant and stuffed into the ballot boxes.
Lessonet yesterday said his experience in Parliament has adequately prepared him for the top seat.