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Mandago heads to victory against Buzeki in governor race


Jubilee Party ticket winner Governor Jackson Mandago has said the just concluded nominations have exposed simmering rifts and suspicion between communities in the North Rift Region.

Mr Mandago and MPs Oscar Sudi (Kapseret) and Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills) Wednesdaychallenged President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto to come out clear on the unity in Jubilee Party ahead of the August polls.

The leaders also took a swipe at some Jubilee leaders whom they claimed wanted to rig them out during the nominations.

Addressing the public in Eldoret town, the leaders said there should be a clear directive from the two principals on the direction citizens will take in the coming polls.

“We want the two to make it clear where we stand as a community. Our party slogan dictates we are together and we are suspicious as to whether we mean it or we are lying to ourselves,” said Mandago.

He added: “If we indeed mean it, how is it that one community decided to overwhelmingly vote for one individual while in other areas, people decided to transfer to various polling stations to vote for one person? Before August polls, we shall talk to all communities in order to find out what went wrong.”

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In five of six constituencies, Mandago had 126,681 votes against his main challenger Zedekiah Kiprop Bundotich (Buzeki)’s 82,869.

The tight governor’s race had turned into a two-horse match between Mandago and Buzeki.

Gladys Boss Shollei won the woman representative ticket with 81,076 votes. She was followed by Rael Jepkemboi who got 24,483.

Governor Mandago is also the interim chairman of the ambitious North Rift Economic Bloc (Noreb) formed to explore the high economic potential of the region.

Supporters for the winning candidates had started preparing themselves for celebrations in Eldoret town awaiting official announcement.

Voters, more particularly in the urban areas including the populous MV Patel polling centre, were held up in long queues during the polling on Tuesday that lasted up to 10pm.

Security was tight with contingents of police officers including the elite GSU who quelled tension that was building up in some stations following the delays.

The voters in the highly cosmopolitan county had also voted out three of the six sitting MPs.

It was only Oscar Sudi (Kapseret) and Silas Tiren (Moiben) who successfully defended their seats.

Those shown the door included James Bett of Kesses who was trounced by Swarup Mishra, a Kenyan of Asian descent, Edwin Barchilei who was beaten by Caleb Kositany in Soy constituency.

Also not spared is Samwel Chepkonga who was beaten in Ainabkoi constituency by Willam Chepkut.

[Reporting by Titus Too, Silah Koskei and Michael Ollinga]

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