President William Ruto lawyer at Supreme Court gets zero votes in Nandi Speaker's race

Lawyer Caroline Jerono who contested in the Nandi County Assembly Speaker's race.

Lawyer Caroline Jerono who contested in the Nandi County Assembly Speaker's race.

Photo credit: Courtesy | File

What you need to know:

  • Ms Jerono had earlier expressed hope of clinching the seat to become the first female Speaker of Nandi County.
  • Ms Jerono, 35, was the only female among 11 candidates for the seat.

Nairobi based lawyer Caroline Jerono who was part of President William Ruto’s legal team that represented him at last month’s presidential petition that challenged his election at the Supreme Court got zero votes in the Nandi County Assembly Speaker’s race held on Wednesday.

Ms Jerono, 35, was the only female among 11 candidates for the seat, which was bagged by Mr Philemon Cheruiyot, a Kapsabet based lawyer who bagged 34 votes out of the 44 total votes, while his closest opponent Phillip Kitur managed ten votes in second round.

Ms Jerono who also appeared in the BBI case in 2021 and served in the United Democratic Alliance tribunal had earlier expressed hope of clinching the seat to become the first female Speaker of Nandi county.

“I believe I have all that is required of a candidate and I believe I am going to set a legacy that will withstand the test of time,” she said when she presented her application papers to the Clerk of the National Assembly.

Weaker gender

“I implore to the MCAs to give this opportunity to serve them not as a weaker gender but as someone who is able to compete with men and able to take up this position and serve this nation,” she said.

"The team led by President William Ruto has encouraged women to go for leadership positions and it is evident in the numbers of women governors who were elected and reflected in the numbers of female MPs elected under UDA,” she said earlier.

Nandi County assembly members at Wednesday September 21, 2022 swearing-in

Nandi County assembly members at Wednesday September 21, 2022 swearing-in.

Photo credit: Tom Matoke | Nation Media Group

However, when the hour of reckoning came, none of the MCAs had cast a vote for her. Ms Jerono has practiced law for seven years now, and believed she had adequate experience to take over the leadership mantle at the Nandi county assembly.

Chesumei MP Dr Wilson Kogo, a former high school principal who was being fronted by the UDA party for the Speaker’s position also lost the bid, managing just three votes in the exercise was supervised by Assembly Clerk Barnabas Kosgey who administered the oath of office to the new Speaker.

In round one, Mr Cheruiyot managed 26 votes against Kitur’s 12. 

Newly elected Nandi County assembly Speaker Philemon Cheruiyot Kelly being sworn-into office on September 21, 2022

Newly elected Nandi County assembly Speaker Philemon Cheruiyot Kelly being  sworn into office by Clerk of the Assembly Barnabas Kosgey on September 21, 2022.

Photo credit: Tom Matoke | Nation Media Group

Mr Kosgey said 11 applicants had applied for the position.

They included Secretary General County Assembly Forum (CAF) Kipkirui Chepkwony an ally of President William Ruto who dropped out of the race hours to voting.

"I don't want to go against the UDA party which had a preferred candidate for the position and that is why I stepped down," stated Chepkwony.

Sources intimated to Nation that Governor Stephen Sang was fronting a Speaker without a law background because of his previous experience where former office holder Joshua Kiptoo was perceived to have frequently attacked his administration.

In neighboring Uasin Gishu, Philip Muigei, formerly a junior accounting staff at the county assembly is the new Speaker after winning a tight race.

Philip Kipng'etich Muigei (left), is sworn-in as a Speaker of Uasin Gishu County Assembly by assembly Clerk Shadrack Choge

Philip Kipng'etich Muigei (left), is sworn-in as a Speaker of Uasin Gishu County Assembly by assembly Clerk Shadrack Choge,  after he was elected by newly sworn-in members on September 21, 2022.

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

Mr Muigei garnered 25 votes against Nancy Chemutai’s 19 in the second round after none of the eight candidates failed to get two thirds majority votes.  Ms Chemutai is a former nominated MCA in the assembly.

Mr Muigei becomes the third assembly Speaker and takes over from immediate-former officeholder- David Kiplagat, currently the Soy MP.

Intense lobbying for the coveted seat has gone on the last two weeks, with contestants who lost in the August 9 General Election expressing interest.

Others in the race were Mr David Singoei, Mr David Chumo, Mr Tony Kiprotich, Mr Geoffrey Ruto and Ms Lilian Rono.

In his acceptance speech, Mr Muigei pledged to steer the assembly in an active oversight role in the county affairs, in accordance with the Constitution and other statues.

The new speaker adjourned the session until October 4, 2022, with MCAs set to undergo an 11-day induction to familiarize themselves with the Standing Orders of the House

The MCAs, however, failed to elect the Deputy Speaker with the county assembly clerk Shadrack Yego saying the election will be held when the assembly resumes in two weeks’ time.

In Baringo, county, ethnicity played out in the exercise that saw High Court advocate Vincent Kemboi, 35, from the populous Arror community in Baringo North win by a landslide.

Mr Kemboi garnered 31 votes in the first round, attaining the two thirds majority against his close competitor – university lecturer Noah Chepkech who hails from Mogotio constituency who got 14 votes.

The other communities including the Samor from Baringo Central, Pokot (Tiaty), Ilchamus and Endorois from Baringo South were also eyeing the seat.

The election was administered by assembly clerk Winnie Chemase.

The election attracted six candidates, among them former county assembly clerk Richard Koech, an advocate of the High Court Joseph Tarus who unsuccessfully vied for the Baringo South parliamentary seat in the August 9 polls, Geofrey Chepkalum and Emily Kiptui who unsuccessfully vied for Baringo Central parliamentary seat. All the four got zero votes.

Withdrew from race

Former Tenges MCA Silas Tochim who unsuccessfully vied for Baringo County Senate seat withdrew from the race a day before citing influence by political leaders from the region whom he claimed, were pushing for their vested interests.

The Pokot and Ilchamus communities have over the years complained about being sidelined by the dominant Tugen in leadership and crucial dockets.

The populous Tugen community has 19 elected ward representatives in the third assembly.

The minority Ilchamus community in Baringo South has been pushing for negotiated democracy and had hoped they would be handed the Speaker’s seat, after a parliamentary candidate they fielded in the August 9 polls was floored.

In his acceptance speech after taking an oath of office, however the newly elected Speaker urged the assembly members to shelve ethnic or party affiliations and work together in unity for the common interests of Baringo County.

In Bungoma, renowned High Court advocate Emanuel Mukhebi Situma and Soy Sambu Mitwa Ward Rep Stephen Wamalwa were retained as Speaker and Deputy Speaker in Bungoma county.

Mr Situma secured the seat in a second round of voting that saw him bag 37 votes out of 61. His closest opponent- Henry Okumu Majimbo got 24 votes.

In the first round of voting, Mr Situma got 33, while Mr Majimbo got 26 votes.

The race attracted four candidates who returned duly filled forms to the assembly Clerk Mr Charles Wafula on time. Two others who had expressed interest did not return the forms.

Mr Wamalwa, the Soy Sambu Mitwa Ward Rep in Tongaren constituency was also reelected with 35 votes for the Deputy Speaker’s post after flooring Mr Francis Chemion, the Kaptama Ward UDA affiliated Rep who garnered 26 votes.

One nominee of DAP-K is yet to be gazetted by IEBC to bring the total number of MCAs in the third county assembly to 62, the assembly clerk explained.

Reporting by Tom Matoke, Stanley Kimuge, Florah Koech and Brian Ojamaa

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