30 eye Murkomen’s seat after Cabinet slot nomination

Senator Kipchumba Murkomen

Senator Kipchumba Murkomen was nominated by President William Ruto for the Transport, Roads and Public Works Cabinet post.

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Social media platforms are already awash with campaign posters and portraits of the aspirants.
  • The long list includes young and older aspirants, and some have already rolled out their grassroots campaigns for the seat.

A fierce political battle is shaping up in Elgeyo Marakwet County, where a record 30 aspirants have declared their interest to succeed two-term Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, who was picked for the Transport, Roads and Public Works Cabinet post.

It remains to be seen how many of the 30 will go all the way to the ballot, whether on party tickets or as independent candidates.

The long list includes young and older aspirants, and some have already rolled out their grassroots campaigns for the seat, even before the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) sets dates for by-elections to fill the vacant seats.

Social media campaigns

Social media platforms are already awash with campaign posters and portraits of the aspirants, even before Mr Murkomen is vetted and cleared by Parliament.

Among those in the race are former MPs William Kisang (Marakwet West) and Daniel Rono (Keiyo South); Soy MCA Jonah Tanui; and Lawrence Mutwol. Others are former nominated MCA Neddy Kiptoo, lawyer Tim Kipchumba and Eliud Kiptoo.

Most aspirants want to run under the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), which swept seats across the North Rift region in last month’s elections.

In Elgeyo Marakwet, however, two MPs beat the UDA wave to be elected as independents, after ditching the party over nomination disgruntlement.

Latest entrant

The latest entrant is Ms Jerotich Seii, an activist who said she is banking on her experience championing the rights of ordinary people.

“We have worked hard together to promote the rule of law and improve our lives. I am ready to serve as Senator of Elgeyo-Marakwet County - building from the bottom up,” said Ms Seii on her Twitter page.

Albert Kochei, the first county assembly Speaker at the inception of devolution, told the Nation that if elected he will champion greater allocations to counties, the revival of the Arror and Kimwarer dams and strengthening devolution.

Resigned

Mr Kochei, who was CCM secretary-general until August 9, said he had resigned his membership in the party to seek a UDA.

He ahopes to push for changes in the law to protect public county workers from victimisation whenever there is change of administration.

“I am [an] articulate and strong defender of devolution and campaigned for President William Ruto outside in Bomet County under [Chama Cha Mashinani, which recently signed a post-election agreement with Kenya Kwanza Coalition],” he said.

“As the first county Speaker, I ensured we recruited competent assembly staff and also pushed for the Equitable Fund Act to ensure that there is equitable sharing of county resources in all the 21 wards.”

Keiyo South

He also wants the seat reserved for Keiyo South constituency as the area has not produced a governor or senator since 2013 and locals are working to build consensus and front one candidate for the seat.

“We will be engaging all professionals and other stakeholders to have one candidate for the seat from Keiyo South. If given the chance, I will be grateful,” he stated.

Governor Wisely Rotich is from Keiyo North, while his predecessor Alex Tolgos is from Marakwet West. Mr Murkomen is from Marakwet East.

Mr Tolgos lost the Senate race to Mr Murkomen in the August elections and has left his supporters guessing his next move.

Mr Rono, the former Keiyo South MP and an ally of President Ruto, is reportedly weighing his options but was non-committal on whether or not he was in the race.

Mr Kisang, who narrowly lost in the August polls to Timothy Kipchumba (independent MP), is banking on his development agenda to clinch the seat.

"My 10-year track record is clear because the constituency has experienced tremendous development in different sectors, notably roads, employment opportunities for the youth, electricity connectivity, among others," he said.

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