Battle of titans as hopefuls line up for Kericho big seat
It will be a battle of titans for the Kericho governorship as political heavyweights descend to the county to fight for the seat held by Paul Chepkwony; who will be exiting next year.
A set of other candidates are weighing their options waiting for a declaration on whether Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter will go for the seat.
Regional balance and the hopefuls’ track record are expected to come into play.
There is also a gentleman’s agreement to ensure that the key political seats are evenly shared amongst the county’s six constituencies of Bureti, Belgut, Soin-Sigowet, Ainamoi, Kipkelion East and Kipkelion West.
Four aspirants have expressed interest in the seat. They are James Sang; a lecturer at Moi University, former assistant minister for Energy Magerer Lang’at, Engineer Fred Kirui and university don Erick Mutai.
All have indicated that they will contest the seat on the banner of United Democratic Alliance (UDA), a party associated with Deputy President William Ruto.
Jonah Keter who contested on a Kanu party ticket in the 2017 polls but lost to governor Chepkwony and Richard Langat who was floored during the Jubilee party primaries have kept their cards close to their chests.
Senator Aaron Cheruiyot has already indicated that he will be keen to retain his seat.
It is highly expected that the contest will be determined during the UDA primaries with the party expected to dominate Rift Valley politics in the next election.
Sang, Mutai and Magerer have already hit the ground running and have been meeting different groups in the county as they rally support for the campaigns.
Speaking to People Daily, former assistant minister langat; who is also the former MP for the larger Kipkelion says he is ready to square it out with others in the race.
“I am equal to the task and I appeal to the people to give me a chance to serve them when time comes,” he said adding that he will soon be launching his campaign.
“If I am elected the next governor in the coming polls, I will do things differently so that the lives of Kericho residents are transformed.
There’s a lot that needs to be done to achieve that,” Magerer said.
Sang said he will to strive to ensure all sectors of the local economy are improved with a particular emphasis on the education.
“I intend to assist or sponsor children from financially challenged backgrounds to access education if elected the next governor.
We need to fight poverty, and one of the ways is through education of our children,” Sang said.
“We also need to scale up the manufacturing sector in teh county, so that we improve economy of our people and subsequently put money in people’s pockets,” disclosed Sang.
But the major test will be the UDA primaries.
“Everyone thinks he or she will be committing political suicide if they don’t go for the seat through UDA.
So the primaries would be like the actual elections in Kericho,” said Peter Kimetto, a resident.
There are talks that Governor Chepkwony will shift to senate seat in the next General Election.
The second term governor will square it out with senator Aaron Cheruiyot and Lucas Tonui; a retired secondary school teacher who has declared interest in the seat.