Bomet and Sotik By-Elections Heat Up

Fireworks are expected in Bomet and Sotik constituencies immediately the seats will officially be declared vacant by the speaker of the national assembly. The by-elections are occasioned by the deaths of cabinet minister Kipkalya Kones and assistant minister the late Lorna Laboso who both died in a plane crash.

In Bomet Kones' former chief campaigner Sammy Sigei has announced his candidature and brushed aside what was seen as an endorsement by Raila Odinga during the funeral that Kones wife Beatrice was the best as a replacement.

Sigei who is said to have married Ida Odinga's sister has caused problems to Beatrice Kones making it difficult for Bomet constituents have a clear picture of who will carry the ODM ticket.The party is among the most popular at tne moment but it is said the other two Kanu and UDM should not be underrated.

Others in the race are Nick Salat, Dr Joseph Sitonik, Prof Wilson Langat,Dr Joseph Yaban,a former administrator at Tenwek Mission Hospital a Mr Mutai just to mention a few.
The race however is narrowed down to four people led by Beatrice Kones and Nick Salat, Mutai and the little known Sammy Mutai.

Meanwhile in Sotix, the names of former Nairobi PC Francis Sigei, Dr Laboso,Joseph Govel and a former principal of Kaplong Girls Cecilia Ngetich have already been mentioned on the top list or close to 20 aspirants set to eye for seat.

And in recent meeting in the constituency the former principal Mrs Ngetich is said to have electrified a mammoth crowd in one of the most powerful speeches ever given by Kipsigis women where song and dance rent the air calling for her entry into the political arena.

Sources however say that she has not officially declared to go for it but word going round is that women in Sotik have been silently rooting for and are said to be making efforts to have a woman aspirant to be the replacement.The lady is described, as a no-nonsence, a good mobiliser, wealthy, and in a short a good public speaker.Qne top aspirant was quoted saying that he would not contest if the former principal will be in the race.

At the same time, calls that the late Kones' widow, Beatrice Kones contests in the by-election to step into her late husband's shoes as MP have elicited mixed reactions with several political activists opposing the idea.

Kones died in a fatal air crash at Kanjong'a in Enoosupukia, Narok North District alongside colleague Laboso, Police Constable Kenneth Bett (body guard) and the pilot and owner of the plane, Christopher Schner.

During the funeral of the departed minister at his Kaparuso home recently, a section of the mourners proposed that Beatrice, the first wife of the fallen minister succeeds him in the impending polls.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga appeared to back the proposal when he described Kones as a lion and that a lion's wife was equal to the task-an oblique reference to the man's first wife.
The proposal was made by politician-businessman, Nicholas Kipleliet Rono and seconded by Bomet County Council Chairman, John Kalya and former Bomet Mayor, Councillor David Sang.
However, the proposal has kicked off a storm in the constituency that is considered a
political hotbed in the Kipsigis region.

A section of the constituents have openly defied the move while a call-in programme at a local vernacular station last week appeared to pour cold water on the widow's candidature.
Almost all the callers in the morning edition dealt a big blow to the widow's candidature as they opposed the move and the way her candidature was brought forward.

The callers stated that it was not in the tradition of the Kalenjin community for a widow to inherit her late husband's position of leadership.

"The tradition is that his brother, son or any other male relative takes over but not the wife," several of the callers stated.

They were also unanimous on the fact that the timing and the venue at which the candidature of the widow was brought up was not appropriate.

"The way it was delivered laced with the message that whoever opposes her should shed light on me plane crash, was simply in bad faith," said Kibet Koech, a political pundit.
However, Beatrice's opponents have to contend with the fact that she is a formidable political force riding on the crest of her late husband and that she has hundreds of supporters to her own right.

It is usually considered unbecoming among the Kalenjin for one to openly express interest for a position that fell vacant owing to the demise of its for holder especially in tragic circumstances as in Kones's case The widow will have a head start if she decides to contest following demands by constituents, an issue that complicates matters for opponents.

Firstly, she hopes to backing from her from her colleagues in the teaching fraternity as she served as primary school teacher being promoted to an educa officer. Beatrice later resigned to concentrate on managing family business.

Many belief that the votes her husband got in the 2002 general elections was largely because of the campaign she mounted at grassropt level as Kones hopped in a national campaign with former Ford-People Presidential candidate Simon Nyachae.

Kones who was Nyachae's presidential running mate lost Bomet parliamentary seat that year to KANU's Nick Salat. Kones was nominated to parliament and subsequently appointed an Assistant Minister for Roads and Public Works.

He beat Salat in the last General Election on an ODM ticket as Salat ran on a KANU ticket.
Initially when Kones died, his first-born son, Kevin was touted to the possible successor but the idea soon died down and there seemed to be a consensus amongst the locals that the candidature of his mother (Beatrice) would be more formidable.

Cases of widows and sons of politicians assuming leadership positions left by their fallen husbands and fathers though a percent phenomenon are on the increase. In the recent times for instance, Mohamed Khalif (formerly of Wajir South), Benjamin Langat, a brother of slain former Ainamoi MP, David Kimutai Too vied to replace their kin.

Key figures for the Bomet by-election race are former Tenwek Mission Hospital Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Mutai, Salat and Beatrice. Despite losing in the last general elections to Kones, Salat is considered a formidable force in the vast constituency.

The youthful former Kanu MP is expected to contest in the same party ticket while Mutai is expected to contest in the ODM primaries.

As things are, Salat might get a direct KANU nomination while Mutai who contested on a UDM ticket in the last general elections and came third after Kones and Salat, will most likely shift to ODM.

The candidature of Moi University don, Prof. Wilson Yaban together with Samwel Maina and Eric Korir has also been whispered around though none of them has gone public over the same.

ODM and KANU previously had rock solid support in the area but their popularity has gradually waned.

Matters are complicated by the fact that both ODM and PNU have formed a Coalition Government and whoever wins either in KANU or ODM would serve in Government and not opposition.

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3 Responses to Bomet and Sotik By-Elections Heat Up

Anonymous said...

You have talked of only the big three thus beatrice, mutai and salat. What about a Dr. Chirchir whom I understand is standing on a ODM ticket. Also in Bomet we need people with brains not the ones who sleep in parliament when other members are debating on hot issues. Bomet constituency please wake up. Choose a leader who can understand the terms being used in parliament. Thank you

Anonymous said...

Bomet by-election is around the corner and our minds must erect, evaluate and elect person with proper representation of voters.

The late Kones was MP for over 20 years, a period enough to write home about. But alah! This may reflect on the wife, Beatrice who wants to contest for the seat.Note that Hon. Salat's 5 years saw better development as one can point on goods projects he did, than Kones' 20 yrs. Do you hear me? say No to euphoria Place your vote where youb will derive value.

Kipkeritik Gaa,

kuryat said...

Bomet by-election is around the corner and our minds must erect, evaluate and elect person with proper representation of voters.

The late Kones was MP for over 20 years, a period enough to write home about. But alah! This may reflect on the wife, Beatrice who wants to contest for the seat.

Note that Hon. Salat's 5 years saw better development as one can point on the good projects he did, than Kones' 20 yrs. Do you hear me? say No to euphoria and Place your vote where you will derive value. Vote well people!

Kipkeritik Gaa,