The race for the Kericho governor’s seat is expected to be a Jubilee Party affair owing to the ruling party’s popularity in the region.
With the knowledge that whoever carries the day in party nominations is virtually assured of being the next governor, the Jubilee ticket has attracted a sizeable number of aspirants including seasoned politicians, technocrats and an academician.
Besides incumbent Paul Chepkwony, others eyeing the ticket include Ainamoi MP Benjamin Langat, former National Social Security Fund Managing Trustee Richard Langat, Engineer Fred Kirui who is a director with Kenya Ports Authority and James Sang, a Moi University lecturer.
The aspirants and their surrogates are crisscrossing the county to convince residents that they have what it takes to be Kericho’s next governor.
While Kericho has six sub-counties namely, Kipkelion East, Kipkelion West, Belgut, Soin-Sigowet, Bureti and Ainamoi, aspirants will be out to maximize on the “home boy” advantage before reaching out to the rest of the county.
Both Chepkwony and Langat (Benjamin) hail from Ainamoi constituency, while Kirui comes from Kipkelion West. Langat (Richard) and Sang are residents of Bureti constituency.
Considering that the stakes are high, political temperatures are already high with candidates and their supporters already engaging in heated debates.
Chepkwony is the target of most of the attacks as his rivals criticise his performance in the past four years.
The Ainamoi MP recently accused the Governor’s administration of doing little with the billions from the National government to improve the county and its people.
According to Langat, the governor has not been honest with the people about development projects which he has been touting as his administration’s achievements.
“There’s nothing tangible that Chepkwony’s administration has done despite receiving billions of shillings from the National Treasury. He is cheating you that he has done this or that but when you go to the ground, there’s nothing,” said the MP, who is also the chairman of Parliament’s Committee on Finance and Planning.
But Chepkwony, who survived an impeachment attempt in 2014, is not taking the criticism lying down.
Besides dismissing the MP’s attacks as cheap politics, he paid the MP back in his own coin by questioning his utilisation of constituency funds.
“Langat should explain to us how he is spending the National Constituency Development Fund because a lot of money has been disbursed to the constituency but there’s nothing to show for it. We demand thorough audit on the use of CDF fund,” said the Governor.