Linet Chepkorir ‘Toto’ has made history by becoming the youngest Woman Representative-elect after the August 9 General Election.
Ms Chepkorir, 24, an April 2021 graduate of Chuka University, beat eight older candidates to become the third Woman Representative in Bomet County.
The case of Ms Chepkorir—the successor of Ms Joyce Korir—is one of daring to dream in a field where big names with huge campaign war chests are known to carry the day.
“I’m grateful for the overwhelming support I’ve received from the voters in Bomet County from the time I threw my hat in the ring. Right from the UDA party primaries and the General Election, I’ve seen and appreciate the love shown by the people,” she said.
As her competitors traversed the county with fuel-guzzling vehicles, Ms Chepkorir walked to campaign venues, as well as motorcycles and vehicles donated and fuelled by well-wishers.
“I don’t take it for granted that I got the backing of voters from across the political divide. I promise them that I’ll do my best to deliver on my mandate,” the MP-elect said.
In a county with 376,985 registered voters as per the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) register, Ms Chepkorir garnered 242,775 votes against her closest rival, Dr Alice Milgo of Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM), who secured 43,180 votes, followed by Ms Beatrice Chepkemoi Chebomui with 4,639 votes.
The other candidates were Florence Cherono Birir (Independent, 2,045 votes), Viola Cherono Tesot (Independent, 1,740 votes), Hellen Taplelei Rotich (Wiper, 1,665), Jesca Cherono Rono (ANC, 1,478 votes), Susan Korir (ODM, 1,27 votes), Susan Koech (Independent, 1,247 votes).
In comparison, Governor Hillary Barchok garnered 158,798 while senator-elect Hillary Sigei got 237,982.
The youthful politician still lives with her parents, Mr Richard Langat and Mrs Betty Langat at Chemamul village, Merigi ward.
Mr Langat is a peasant farmer while his wife is an Early Childhood Education and Development Education teacher at Raiya Primary School in the outskirts of Bomet town.
The name ‘Toto’ was given to her when she was an infant. A neighbour at Egerton University where the family lived, kept forgetting her name, so he chose to call her Toto and the name stuck.
By coincidence, she was the youngest pupil in her class and so the name followed her.
After being declared the winner and handed the certificate by Bomet County Returning Officer Daniel Lenarum, Ms Chepkorir was thrilled while her parents broke into song and dance.
Gun for leadership
“I want to assure my supporters and those who didn’t vote for me that I’ll serve all without favour, and I’m asking for your support over the next five years,” she said.
Ms Chepkorir was thrust into the limelight when she went for a meeting at Deputy President William Ruto’s Karen home where he was hosting UDA aspirants. She was locked out for about an hour by security officers who mistook her for a village girl who had strayed into the meeting.
She was finally let in after producing an electronic ticket showing she had paid the Sh6,000 registration fees for party aspirants.
Her first agenda, she says, will be to sponsor a Bill in Parliament to compel the government to supply free sanitary pads to girls across the country.
She wants youth to gun for leadership posts so as to provide solutions to their many problems.