Why CCM leader Isaac Ruto picked youthful Doris as running mate

Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) party leader Isaac Ruto (centre ) and Ms Doris Chepkoech Cheborge (left) celebrate after the 29 year sociology and economics graduate was picked by Mr Ruto as his running mate on May, 16, 2022 

Photo credit: Vitalis Kimutai | Nation Media Group

Chama Cha Mashinani party leader Isaac Ruto on Monday picked 29-year-old Doris Chepkoech Cheborge as his running mate in the August 9 General Election as he seeks to tap youthful voters in a bid to recapture the governor’s seat that he lost five years ago.

Ms Chepkoech stands out as perhaps the youngest female candidate for a gubernatorial running mate position so far.
Mr Ruto made the surprise announcement when pundits expected him to pick a seasoned politician or administrator to deputise him.

But the former governor has explained that he was looking for a youthful candidate with a passion for leadership, a people’s servant and one who fully embraces the policies of a bottom-up economic model.    

“I scanned the political landscape, looked at regional balance, the various age groups and the issue of gender. In recognition of the need for continuity in the political arena, we as senior citizens need to mentor the younger generation for leadership,” said Mr Ruto.

He also said the majority of the current crop of national leaders were mentored by former President Daniel Moi.

“We are products of a deliberate attempt by the late Mzee Moi for a generational shift in leadership in 1992. We went to Parliament in 1997 [and] I was appointed to the position of assistant minister, later promoted to a minister for vocational training before being moved to the Environment docket,” he stated.

“It is in order for us as well to mentor the next generation of leaders and allow them to acquire requisite skills and knowledge, and give them an opportunity to perform. In any event, I was not known before I went to Parliament.”

Gender parity was another issue that came into play in picking the youthful candidate for the influential political position.

“Women are 52 per cent of the population, while we are talking of 30 per cent for gender parity. To address this issue, I will endeavour to have a 50-50 per cent rule on appointment for either gender in the cabinet and senior positions,” said Mr Ruto.

Ms Chepkoech’s area of training – sociology and economics – Mr Ruto said, is a key factor in leadership and management, and resonates with his fervent belief in ensuring there is proper circulation of money at the grassroots.

“We were not looking for the most resourced person in terms of money [or] family background, but one with appropriate leadership and clear transformational abilities and that is what Ms Chepkoech embodies,” said Mr Ruto.

Ms Chepkoech, a resident of Kapletundo in Sotik constituency, is making her first stab at elective politics and has no prior working relationship with Mr Ruto, the first Bomet governor.

“This is a favour from God and I am very grateful for that … Everything in life is possible, especially when you are focused on what you want to do. I appeal to the people of Bomet to rally behind us in the August 9 General Election. We will not disappoint them,” said Ms Chepkoech.

She had not dabbled in party politics previously, and chose to join CCM in an area previously seen to be a UDA zone, but the narrative has since changed with the recent shambolic party nominations.

“I chose to be a CCM party leader without any prodding as I embraced its economic ideals, which resonate well with the bottom-up economic model that will transform development and create jobs and investment opportunities at the grassroots,” Ms Chepkoech stated.

“I decided to contest the Kapletundo ward representative position in the CCM party nominations, but I lost. I did not know that such a life-changing surprise awaited me,” said Ms Chepkoech in an interview.

She called on young people in the county to back her and Mr Ruto for the governor’s seat against Governor Hillary Barchok of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) and Mr Benard Mutai of Amani National Congress (ANC).

“Let us all join hands in the bid to transform the Bomet county development agenda to a better level and turn the narrative that we are ranked among the five poorest counties in the country,” said Ms Chepkoech.

Opportunities for youths in leadership and management in county governments, she said, are ripe and that they should seize them.

Mr Victor Koech, the CCM nominee for the Chepalungu constituency seat, and Senate nominee Enock Kemei said the party will include young people and women in the development agenda of the county.

“It is time for the youth to be entrenched in key leadership positions, management and economic development in the country. We have a team of qualified youthful professionals with the ability to transform the economic policies of this country and ensure the people enjoy higher living standards,” said Mr Koech.

For his part, Mr Kemei stated: “CCM has youthful candidates running for civic and parliamentary positions with the ability to transform the development of the county to the benefit of the residents.”

It remains to be seen whether Mr Ruto’s gamble in wooing restless youths will work out in a region where employment opportunities have increasingly become unavailable, with low circulation of money and a battered economy.

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