Ex-MP Jonathan Leleliit declared winner of Samburu governor race

Samburu Governor elect Jonathan Lati Leleliit (UDA) celebrates his victory in Maralal town on Friday 12, 2022

Photo credit: Geoffrey Ondieki | Nation Media Group

Former Samburu West MP Jonathan Lati Leleliit has won the Samburu County governor’s race.

Mr Leleliit, who ran under the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), garnered 40,740 votes to defeat his main challenger, Dr Richard Lesiyampe (Jubilee), who received 26,834.

In the race, Daniel Lekupe (independent) came in third with 1,847 votes, while retired Colonel Richard Leiyagu (PGP) was last with 771.

The former legislator will now succeed Governor Moses Lenolkulal, who is retiring after serving two terms allowed under the Constitution.

Mr Lelelit, a staunch member of Deputy President William Ruto's Kenya Kwanza alliance, lost the Samburu West parliamentary seat to Naisula Lesuuda in 2017. He returned to politics last year by declaring his interest in succeeding Mr Lenolkulal.

Mr Leleliit thanked Samburu County voters for believing in him and his manifesto, and said he was ready for the job.

"I accept the overwhelming support that I have been shown by Samburu residents. I sincerely thank them for bestowing on me the privilege to be their governor. I will not fail them," he said shortly after he was announced winner.

Samburu Governor elect Jonathan Lati Leleliit (UDA) receives a certificate from County returning officer at Joseph Allamano Pastoral Centre in Maralal town on Friday 12, 2022

Photo credit: Geoffrey Ondieki | Nation Media Group

He pledged to turn around the fortunes in Samburu in several sectors, including water and roads. The governor-elect vowed to work with other leaders to end insecurity across the county.

"We have several challenges, including insecurity. I will work with every stakeholder in this county to stop the senseless killings," he said.

His main challenger, Dr Lesiyampe (Jubilee) conceded defeat on Wednesday, before official results from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) were announced. 

Dr Lesiyampe thanked his supporters for turning out to vote for him even though he lost the race. He asked his supporters to be calm and maintain peace.

"I just want to thank my family, friends and supporters for standing by my side during the campaign period," Dr Lesiyampe said in a press briefing in Maralal town on Wednesday evening.

Dr Lesiyampe was principal secretary in the state department of Agriculture and in the department of Environment and Natural Resources. Before his appointment to the government, he was CEO of Kenyatta National Hospital.

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