July 24th 2017

Top Stories / 2017 Elections

Rare spectacle as opposition governor running mate endorses incumbent

There has been bitter debates on social media between the Marakwet youth who make the highest percentage of Mr Tolgos supporters and those from Keiyo Sub- County believed to be in support of Mr Changwony.

By Julius ChemiteiWednesday, 05 Jul 2017 15:57 EAT

Moses Changwony and running mate Lukas Chepkitony.

Elgeyo Marakwet governor Alex Tolgos has gained unexpected popularity after being endorsed by the running mate of his rival and former Keiyo North MP Lucas Chepkitony. Mr Chepkitony is the running mate of Moses Changwony who is running as an independent candidate.

Speaking during a burial in Kapkesum, Kapchemutwa Ward, Mr Chepkitony thanked the residents of the village for having supported him for the entire decade he served as the area MP and requesting them to vote for Tolgos. "I am requesting you all that come 8 August you all throw your support behind Mr Tolgos”, he said 

There have been bitter debates on social media between the Marakwet youth who make the highest percentage of Tolgos' support and those from Keiyo Sub-County believed to be in support of Changwony.

The tussle started after the Jubilee primaries in which all the nominees came from Marakwet Sub-County which angered the Keiyos and resulted in the pushing of Mr Changwony who emerged third to vie as an independent candidate after Jackson Kiptanui is said to have heeded Deputy President William Ruto’s call to stay out of the August 8 polls.

The birth of Keiyo for Keiyo  slogan was started by Keiyo Sub-County voters to drum up support for Changwony and his running mate Chepkitony in what was seen as the only way to have Keiyos vote as a block. As a result it will be advantageous to Tolgos to reclaim governor seat among the three seats highly coveted by the Marakwet Sub-County at the moment.

However the plan might not work well since the incumbent has picked a running mate from Emsoo ward in Keiyo North to buy the loyalty of Northerners who for a long time in governance and representation are suspicious of the southerners. If this srategy goes as per plan, the Northerners have been promised that come 2022 no Marakwet will vie for gubernatorial seat and instead anyone fronted by Keiyo North would enjoy a block vote from Marakwet East and West.

However the issue of postponing the happiness of Keiyo North has been challenged by the fact that both Jane Kiptoo Chebaibai and Kipchumba Murkomen stand a high chance of winning during the general elections making Keiyos jittery of not being in a position to call shots from the three big county positions.

Traditionally the position of the women representative is preserved for Keiyo South together with that of the speaker while Keiyo North retains the deputy Governor’s position in the scenario where both the governor and the senator come from the Marakwet side.

This hasn’t been the case this season though leaders now believe that they will go by the decision of voters, “It should not be a negotiated democracy no, let the voters give us the right leaders,’’ says Linah Kilimo, Marakwet East aspirant.

Elgeyo Marakwet has a total of 134,568 registered voters; Marakwet East 26,887, Marakwet West 36,055, Keiyo North 31,061, and Keiyo South 40,565 and it’s a battle ground for Kanu and Jubilee Party which both have been endorsed by the residents and are fielding candidates at various levels.

The writer, an experienced journalist, is a contributing reporter for the Kenya Free Press





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