Unofficial campaigns have kicked off in Elgeyo Marakwet following reports that Senator Kipchumba Murkomen could be headed to President William Ruto’s Cabinet.
Talk that Mr Murkomen is earmarked for an executive slot in the Kenya Kwanza government has sparked excitement in the county, with several aspirants unofficially declaring their intentions to succeed him.
On Saturday, the Kenya Kwanza parliamentary group unveiled its proposed National Assembly and Senate leadership and Mr Murkomen, who previously served as majority leader in the latter House, was not on the list.
Locals had anticipated that he would be named majority leader, and the omission heightened speculation that President Ruto may have more for him in his Cabinet lineup.
And even before the official Cabinet list is unveiled, unofficial campaigns have started in earnest, with a dozen aspirants seeking to replace the outspoken senator, who is serving his third term.
Although Mr Murkomen has remained tight-lipped on the matter, only saying ‘let’s wait’ when asked for comment, social media forums are already awash with campaign posters and portraits of aspirants who want to succeed the senator.
Mr Thomas Karamai, a political strategist in Elgeyo Marakwet, said a by-election was just a matter of time.
“We are sure that our senator is headed to the Cabinet, and when it happens, I shall be pushing and backing the candidature of Jackson Kiptanui (former Keiyo South MP) to replace Mr Murkomen,” he said.
Mr Kiptanui is among aspirants eyeing Mr Murkomen’s seat.
Another is lawyer Hillary Kiprop Marrirmoi, who was part of Dr Ruto’s legal team when the Supreme Court heard the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya petition that challenged his win in the August 9 presidential race.
Mr Marrirmoi, who was trounced by Mr Murkomen in the elections, is keen to succeed him if a by-election is called.
Other aspirants are former Marakwet West MP William Kisang, Soy North Ward Rep Jonah Tanui, Mr Eliud Lorpesa and Mr Tim Kipchumba, an author and a mentor.
“I am interested to hear what you think about my interest. It is still very early on this decision but curious what you honestly think,” Mr Kipchumba wrote on social media.
“Constructive comments and criticisms, messages of support, early volunteers welcome! You can do this publicly and privately.”