North Rift voters kick out most of their ward reps

Eldoret National Polytechnic Polling Station

Election clerks count votes at Eldoret National Polytechnic Polling Station in Kesses Constituency, Uasin Gishu County on August. In the county, only nine of the 30 elected MCAs were re-elected. 

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

Voters in the North Rift, like their counterparts in Mt Kenya, sent home a record number of Members of County Assembly (MCAs) as the post becomes more competitive.

In Nandi, 36 of 39 elected MCAs were voted out in the just concluded General Election.

Voters in Elgeyo-Marakwet rejected 17 of the 20 elected MCAs, and in West Pokot, 12 ward reps were sent home, with only eight retaining their seats. In Uasin Gishu, only nine out of 30 MCAs retained their seats.

In Baringo, the split was almost even as 16 were sent home while 14 made a comeback.

Turkana county voters sent home 24 of their 30 MCAs.

Among those sent home in Nandi was Secretary-General of the Kenya County Assemblies Forum Kipkirui Chepkwony and former Kapsabet Town Ward MCA Fred Kemboi who are among President-elect William Ruto’s point men in the county.

Mr Chepkwony lost the Tinderet ward UDA ticket to Paul Birech in the party nominations.

As independents

Most MCAs who insisted on vying in the August polls as independents after losing in the April UDA primaries, did not make it, including Mr Kemboi, who lost to newcomer Benjamin Kerich Matata of UDA.

Mr Chepkwony was in the delegation from Nandi that visited President-elect Ruto’s Karen home over the weekend. Sources indicate that he’s lobbying for the position of assembly Speaker.

In the April UDA nominations in Elgeyo Marakwet, the electorate denied 15 MCAs the valuable ticket, and dropped two more in the General Election.

Only Jonah Tanui (Soy South), Paul Kipyatich (Embobut) and Priscilla Kurgat (Lelan) retained their seats.

Mr Christopher Chemosong (Arror) and Mr David Kipketer (Sengwer) had sailed through the hotly contested nominations but were felled by independent candidates Justine Koech and Asbel Kiptoo, respectively. Save for the two independents, the rest were elected on UDA tickets.

In West Pokot, former Deputy Speaker Francis Loboo Krop (Kasei ward), Mr Peter Lokor (Kapchok), Mr David Alekulem (Suam), Mr Samuel Timtim Korinyang (Tapach), Mr Bosco Kiratum (Alale ward), Mr Martin Komong’iro (Sook), Mr Jacob Toongole (Lomut) and Mr Patrick Lokomol (Chepareria) were spared the purge.

Lawyer Philip Magal told the Nation that the MCAs were sent packing because of poor performance.

“They didn’t deliver as expected and many didn’t understand their roles,” he said. “They failed in their oversight and legislation roles. They didn’t pass even five Bills and no Bill to help the locals. They were always wrangling over positions.”

Wrangling over positions

In Uasin Gishu, most MCAs, who were not re-elected, lost at the UDA party primaries. Most of them opted to vie on independent tickets, but UDA ended up winning 27 of the 30 seats.

Notable MCAs who lost their seats include the Leader of Majority Josephat Lowoi of Karuna/Meibeki ward and Deputy Speaker Hosea Lamai of Kapsaos.

Chief whip David Samoei of Ngenyilel ward had opted to run for governor but lost to Governor-elect Jonathan Bii during the party primaries.

Three women were elected on UDA party tickets—Ms Sarah Malel of Kimumu, Ms Rebecca Chepchirchir (Kuinet/Kapsuswa) and Ms Mary Goretti (Kipsomba).

Mr Peter Wanjohi of Jubilee Party beat Ms Lucy Ngendo of UDA to snatch the Huruma ward seat from her. Mr Francis Muya of Langas successfully defended his seat on a Jubilee party ticket, while Mr Patrick Kimeli (Independent) won the Moi’s Bridge ward seat.

In Baringo, ward reps who vied on UDA tickets and made a political comeback include Mr John Aengwo (Saimo/Kipsaraman), Mr John Tarus (Sacho), Mr Ernest Kibet (Kabarnet), Mr Jacob Cheboiwo (Kisanana), Mr Benjamin Koech (Eldama Ravine), Mr Lawi Kipchumba (Lembus Kwen), Mr Benjamin Koech (Lembus), Mr Julius Ng’otie (Ravine), Mr Kipruto Kimosop (Mochongoi), and Mr Nixon Lemlem (Marigat).

On Kanu tickets

Those who retained their seats on Kanu tickets in Tiaty including Mr Daniel Tuwit (Ribkwo/Kositei), Ms Maria Losile (Loiyamorok), Mr Solomon Makal (Kolowa), Mr Sam Lourien(Tirioko) and Mr Shadrack Mailuk (Tangulbei/Korosi).

Mr Renson Parkei (Mukutani), who won in 2013 and 2017 under ODM, did not defend his seat.

In Turkana, the six who survived the voters’ wrath, and were re-elected under UDA, included Mr Stephen Edukon (Turkwel), Mr James Ikeny (Kanam Kemer), Mr Patrick Napion (Kaeris), Mr Bethwel Kobongin (Songot) and Mr Michael Ewoi (Lapur).

ODM’s Willy Nalimo (Kapedo/Napeitom) also retained his seat.

Elected woman MCA

Former nominated MCA Ruth Kuya, who will be the only elected woman MCA, won the Lodwar Township seat under UDA after dispatching ward rep Robert Lowoko who unsuccessfully vied as an independent.

 Mr Vincent Ekipor (Jubilee) recaptured the Lokichoggio seat that he lost in 2017 after defeating Mr Paul Louren of UDA.

Mr Jacob Nakuwa (Kibish) won on a  Ford Kenya ticket.

Mr Benedict Lokamar (Lokori/Kochodin) opted for the Senate seat on a UDA ticket but lost to the outgoing Turkana South MP James Lomenen.

Ms Leah Nachere (Lakezone), who was the only elected woman MCA in 2017, vied as an independent after she was denied Jubilee ticket but lost.

Reporting by Tom Matoke, Fred Kibor, Stanley Kimuge, Florah Koech and Oscar Kakai