What you need to know:
- Mr Sabaulei, 35, is a lawyer with experience spanning over a decade.
- Embobut Embolot MCA Paul Kipyatich was also elected unopposed as deputy Speaker.
Philemon Sabulei has retained the Elgeyo Marakwet County Assembly Speaker’s position unopposed.
Mr Sabulei had an easy sail after his four opponents backed down at the eleventh hour.
Embobut Embolot MCA Paul Kipyatich was also elected unopposed as deputy Speaker after his challengers Priscilla Kurgat (Lelan) and Paul Suter (Sambirir) wrote to the clerk saying they had withdrawn from the race.
By Monday, it was clear that Mr Sabulei was set to retain the seat when his competitors failed to present their nomination papers to clerk Jane Mutai, who on Wednesday administered the oath of office to the 32 MCAs.
“The close of submission of papers for the post was Monday, September 19, at 10 am and by that time it was only the outgoing Speaker who had been cleared,” she said on Monday.
“Technically, this means he will be elected unopposed and waiting to be sworn in when the assembly holds its sitting on Wednesday.”.
Those who withdrew from the race were 27-year-old lawyer Esther Kibore Kirwa, former Arror ward rep Christopher Chemosnong, University of Eldoret don Dr Andrew Kiplagat and Mr Alex Cherop.
Ms Kirwa, in a statement, said she agreed to shelve her ambitions after a lengthy and robust engagement with the county leadership in the spirit of fostering unity in Keiyo South.
“It was through consensus and we unanimously agreed to lend our support to Wakili Sabulei as the Speaker candidate,” she told Nation.Africa.
“I wish to thank the MCAs for the wonderful engagement that we have had since the journey started,” she said.
“Though the pendulum did not rest on me this time round, I am certain we will keep the conversation going and will be available to serve the people of Elgeyo Marakwet and the Republic of Kenya when an opportunity presents [itself].”
MCAs, led by Metkei Ward Rep Lawi Kibire hailed Mr Sabulei’s re-election based on his past record for fostering unity and harmony in the assembly.
“The assembly stood because of his leadership, which was result-oriented, which he steered to inculcate and entrench a culture of servanthood, open governance and inclusivity in institutional decision making,” Mr Kibire.
“This attracted admiration for his focus on his duties, commitment to institutional growth and building relationships with other institutions in the government charmed the MCAs.
“His special skills in managing diverse political interests in the House made the assembly … one of the calmest in the country. Through him the assembly formulated 14 policies and 25 bills which helped to properly anchor the administrative functions of the county.”
In his acceptance speech, Mr Sabulei said he was humbled by the MCAs’ gesture of a unanimous decision to back him, saying this demonstrated their confidence in him.
“I will continue to work and synergize with all leaders in building consensus, while still able to drive the House agenda by ensuring there are bills and policies which will help alleviate socioeconomic development in the county. I am calling on you to fulfill the campaign pledges to the people,” he said.
Mr Sabaulei, 35, a lawyer with experience spanning over a decade, said he will continue to stabilise the assembly and ensure a high level of integrity and good conduct among members.
“Our debates have been above reproach and we are the only assembly which received unqualified financial audits by the Office of the Auditor General,” he said.