‘Equaliser’ causing upset in Kericho governor race

 Fred Kirui, Charles Keter, Lily Ng’ok, Erick Mutai.

From left to right: Kericho County gubernatorial aspirants Fred Kirui, Charles Keter, Lily Ng’ok and Erick Mutai.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

He is barely 38 years old, but university lecturer Erick Kipkoech Mutai is already causing problems for established politicians in the Kericho race for governor.

The Embu University literature and communications lecturer is making his debut in politics, but is considered a front-runner in the race to succeed Governor Paul Chepkwony, who is retiring at the end of his second and final term.

Two sitting MPs, who didn’t wish to be named, said Dr Mutai is well ahead of those seeking nomination under Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA).

“There are those who have been spreading propaganda that Dr Mutai is not his own man and that he’s a project. But those are lies. They’ll be surprised,” one of the MPs said.

‘Fairness and equity’

Voters who have been awed by Dr Mutai’s campaigns have branded him, “Equaliser”, which resonates with his clarion call for justice, fairness and equity.

Dr Mutai is giving old-hand politicians, like former Devolution Cabinet secretary Charles Keter, who has nicknamed himself ‘Transformer’ by virtue of having served in the Energy docket, a run for their money.

The race to succeed Prof Chepkwony has attracted many aspirants. Apart from Dr Mutai and Mr Keter, there is Ms Lily Ng’ok, the current deputy governor, and Mr Fred Kirui, among others.

Interestingly, all are eyeing the UDA ticket as whoever bags it is more or less assured of being elected governor.

“I was branded ‘Equaliser’ because I’ve always told the people that for every decision I make, I will be guided by justice, fairness and equity,” the father of two, who is also a devolution consultant, said.

“It’s also an assurance to the people that I’ll lift the poor from their current situation in the perfect mould of the bottom-up economic model, if I win the seat,” added the don, who is depending on well-wishers to fund his campaigns.

On why he wants to be governor, Dr Mutai says: “The people had a discussion with me in those town hall meetings and I listened to them. They told me I’d serve them better as their governor. This didn’t take me by surprise as I had similar thoughts. I’ll call it a coincidence.”

Stop at nothing

“When the thoughts of your people resonate with yours, it’s a God-given opportunity that can only work better,” he adds.

The UDA national elections board has fixed primaries for April 10 to 16 across the country.

Mr Keter did not respond to our calls for comment. However, Ms Ng’ok vowed to stop at nothing in her quest to succeed her boss.

‘I’ve well-wishers’

“I’m not well endowed with financial resources like some of my competitors, but I’ve well-wishers who are willing to contribute towards my campaign kitty,” the former lecturer at Kisii University said.

Ms Ng’ok was appointed deputy governor in March 2021 following the death of Susan Kikwai. She was the Education, Sports and Social Services executive at the time.

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