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Mother and son lock horns in the battle for Bomet East

Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organization, MYO, Chairperson Rahab Mwikali, left and a MYO National Vice Chairperson Beatrice Kones at a press conference after a National Steering committee meeting in Nairobi on friday, feb 18, 2016. PHOTO: JONAH ONYANGO/STANDARD.

Since independence, the Bomet East parliamentary seat has alternated between the families of Kipkalya Kones and Isaac Salat.

That cycle would be broken in 2013, with the entry of Bomet East MP Bernard Bett, who kicked the two families out into the political cold.

But the coming August election has provided another chance for the family of former Cabinet minister Kones to revive its reign.

Two members of the family will be facing off in a competition that is turning out to be a family contest.

Former Home Affairs assistant minister Beatrice Kones is locked in a heated race with her firstborn son, Kipng’etich Kalya.

Beatrice, who won the Jubilee ticket on Tuesday, will now face off with Kipng’etich, who is vying on a Chama Cha Mashinani ticket.

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The seat has also attracted an independent candidate, Amos Rotich, but his quest has been overshadowed by the contest between mother and son.

Political observers have proposed that the two family members negotiate and allow one of them to run against the independent candidate but the advice has proved futile.

Mother and son are each determined to hold firm their quest to fight for the control of Kipkalya Kones’s reign and legacy in Bomet.

Both are campaigning on the platform of being the former minister’s relative.

“The two candidates, despite clinching their respective party tickets, are on the verge of committing political suicide,” said Robinson Tum, a political observer.

Kones won the Jubilee ticket after beating sitting MP Bernard Bett in a closely fought race.

Coming back

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Kipngetich, on his part, was declared a CCM candidate, after trouncing David Kipkononden in the Isaac Ruto-led party contest early this month.

Beatrice has exuded confidence that she is going to trounce her son and take the parliamentary seat.

“The seat I lost in 2013 is coming back and I will not let the people of Bomet East down,” she said.

She faulted the party her son has chosen, saying his candidature will not see the light of day.

“If he was in Jubilee, it would be a different tale. But as it is, it will be difficult for him to make a political entry since the CCM tag he will be carrying will not be easy to shed,” Kones said.

Kipng’etich, however, said the people of Bomet East would make their choice in August.

He denied allegations that he was being pushed by Governor Isaac Ruto to ruin his mother’s political quest.

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“Those are the people who speak without judging their thoughts. That is not true. I have been nursing my quest for this seat for a long time and for someone to think am being used to fight my mother is unfortunate,” Kipngetich said.

He criticised his mother’s candidature, questioning what new thing she has for the people of Bomet East.

“What new things does my mother want to do which she did not do when she had her chance to lead?” Kipng’etich asked.

He said his aspiration is to nurture the spirit of devolution.

“People are asking why I chose CCM but I simply want to say I feel at home in this party,” he said.

He said people should ask his mother why she left ODM at the last minute during the 2013 election.

“It is my belief that CCM stands for what we aspire for as a people. Look at its stand on devolution. That is what I stand for and my what my father, Kipkalya Kones, stood for,” he said.

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