It’s been a 20-year wait for governor ‘Koti Moja’
Twenty years ago, after his entrance into politics, Uasin Gishu Governor-elect Jonathan Bii alias Koti Moja finally bagged the seat after garnering 214,036 votes to emerge the winner.
Bii of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) vanquished Independent candidate Zedekiah Bundotich alias Buzeki who got 127,013 votes and UDA’s William Kirwa who managed 6,143 votes.
Koti Moja plunged into politics in 1997 where he unsuccessfully vied against William Ruto (now president-elect) as Eldoret North MP.
He would also run for the same seat in subsequent years as well as nd lost including in 2017 when he was floored in the battle for Soy parliamentary seat that he sought on a Kanu ticket.
Outgoing Soy MP Caleb Kositany won the seat.
He petitioned Kositany ’s victory in court but later dropped the bid after Ruto reportedly prevailed upon him. Interestingly, he beat Kositany by a huge margin during the UDA primaries in April.
In an interview with People Daily yesterday, the outspoken politician, who is known to be an avid grassroot mobiliser, said he does not concede easily.
“I know my political journey has been long and winding but I thank God that my prayers have finally been answered. I thank the people of Uasin Gishu for standing with me. I will never let them down,” he said.
Outgoing Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago lauded Bii for his resilience and patience despite disappointing defeats.
“If there is someone who has suffered politically, that person is Jonathan Bii. His prayers have not been answered many times. It is good that the fifth prayer has finally been answered,” Mandago, also the senator-elect said.
In the results announced at the County Tallying Centre at Eldoret Polytechnic, Mandago garnered 252,800 votes against comedian Robert Kemei, an Independent, who had 94,875 votes. Incumbent Senator Margaret Kamar opted not to defend the seat.
Bii was campaigning on the slogan of being the people’s governor besides beating Kositany in UDA primaries.
He also floored former envoys: Julius Bitok (Pakistan) and Sarah Serem (China) to clinch the UDA ticket.
He garnered 71,152 votes in UDA primaries in April followed by Bitok’s 59,001.
The Koti Moja epithet came as a derogatory phrase by his opponents to disparage him as someone with no means, claiming he had only one coat. “We embraced the name and owned it and we are happy it has resonated well with our people who like my political ideals,” Bii told People Daily. He has pledged to create an enabling environment for investors and market North Rift as an ideal industrial hub.
“We will ensure value addition for agricultural products to ensure our farmers reap fully. We will also set up a stimulus package for Small and Medium Enterprises. We will also look for partners who can revitalise our industries,” he promised.
Being a cosmopolitan region, Koti Moja has pledged to be in the forefront in promoting peaceful co-existence and bring all communities on board.
“My administration will be all-inclusive. All communities will be accommodated in my government. Nobody should feel sidelined,” he said.
Incoming governor added that his administration will also set up a referral hospital to stop over-reliance on Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, which serves the entire Western region.
“We will also set up a Governor’s Scholarship Fund to empower the youth who clear university to further their studies,” Bii said.