Outgoing West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo has conceded defeat to his opponent Simon Kachapin of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) who floored him with 86,476 votes against, 84,610 votes, ending his bid to reclaim the seat.
Prof Lonyangapuo who vied on his Kenya Union Party (KUP) ticket has said although he was defeated by less than 2,000 votes he has accepted the results and will not contest them, since he loves peace. He said that as ‘a God fearing man,’ he has done it from his heart.
“He defeated me with only 1,866 votes, elsewhere it would be drama. If you are given a chance to serve as a village elder or prefect stand with it and make sure it goes well,” he said.
The professor of applied mathematics shook hands with Mr Kachapin before the county leaders and the public and said he is ready to hand over power to his successor.
“I will organise for big event for handing over in a few days to come,” he said.
The outgoing governor asked his supporters to accept the results and his decision and support the Governor elect, whom he asked to take over his people as their political father.
“I have handed out my people to you as their father. My people of KUP, Kanu and Jubilee,” he told Kachapin.
Prof Lonyangapuo sat in Mtello hall in Kapenguria as the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) tallied county results for 15 hours on Friday. There had been a clash between the two camps over delayed results announcement, with each claiming victory.
“I ask all political parties to give Kachapin an easy time to lead the county since he has been elected by the majority. KUP, KANU, UDA and independent candidates please let’s give him a chance to lead. Let's give him time to serve our county since leadership comes from God. Campaigns are over and we have our leader, let’s respect him," he appealed.
Following his consent, Prof Lonyangapuo has asked the governor-elect to call for a meeting of all elected leaders from the county, irrespective of their parties and set the agenda for the county.
“I received major support from all elected MPs during my era and I also ask the current elected leaders to also offer support to the governor-elect,” he said.
He advised Mr Kachapin to consult him on anything stating that he is ready to offer him support.
“I will give you my two phone numbers so that you can consult any time. I am happy you never interrupted my government and I will do the same. Some were peddling propaganda, I am ready to hand over to him,” said the outgoing governor.
However, he hit out at his Deputy Dr Nicholas Atudonyang for absconding duty during their time, but said he had since forgiven him.
“But you Atudonyang, you ran away but I forgave you,” he said.
He asked Kachapin not to sack the people he employed during his term saying he never touched on those his predecessor had employed.
“Let’s have respect. I didn’t chase away the people you employed. Others went for leave but came back and were on pay roll,” he said.
Mr Kachapin on the other hand called for political tolerance, promising to deal with the challenges facing West Pokot residents.
“I will work better because I have experience. I will ensure that there is general and food security, good health and road infrastructure, and create jobs for unemployed youths,” he said, noting that he was aware the expectations were high.
The leaders embraced each other and asked residents to pray for the new government.