Three fight for open Bomet woman rep slot

With the incumbent not defending her seat in the August 8 General Election, Bomet County will certainly have a new Woman Representative in the 12th Parliament.

And the battle to replace Ms Cecilia Ng’etich is expected to be fierce, pitting three candidates.

They are Bomet County Assembly Deputy Speaker Joyce Korir (Jubilee Party), former Kenya’s High Commissioner to Canada Lila Siele (Kanu) and nominated Ward Rep Beatrice Chebomui of Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM).

PRIMARIES
Ms Ngetich opted to contest the Sotik Parliamentary seat left vacant by Dr Joyce Laboso, the National Assembly Deputy Speaker, who has set her sights on the gubernatorial seat, where she will square it out with Governor Isaac Ruto.

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Ms Ngetich however lost to Mr Dominic Koske, the son of former MP Anthony Kimeto, in the Jubilee primaries.

SUPREMACY

As in the gubernatorial contest, the Woman Rep fight is also set to heighten the political rivalry between Deputy President William Ruto and Governor Ruto, who are locked in a supremacy battle to control the vote-rich Rift Valley.  

READ: DP Ruto dismisses Bomet boss’s Nasa move as selfish

CRITICS

In the contest, the DP supports Mrs Korir while the Governor is backing Ms Chebomui.   

Ms Chebomui has, in many instances, been at the forefront of defending Governor Ruto’s administration, which has many times been criticised, at the region’s County Assembly, by Ward Reps allied to the Jubilee Party.

The MP’s fierce defence of the devolved unit’s boss landed her in trouble in 2015.

CONFLICT
Together with nine colleagues, Ms Chebomui’s nomination to the County Assembly then by the DP Ruto-led United Republican Party (URP), which is now defunct, were nullified.

They were accused of supporting the governor, who was at the time said to be undermining the party.

Governor Ruto then accused the DP of dictatorship and high-handedness.

ADVANTAGE
Ms Chebomui’s nomination is, therefore, being seen by many as a reward for sticking by Governor Ruto, who is the CCM leader.

On the other hand, Mrs Korir, who has a wealth of experience in politics having been a councillor, a mayor and Deputy Speaker of the Bomet County Assembly, is seen as a front runner in the contest.

Mrs Korir presents herself as a defender of women’s rights.

ENDORSEMENT

She exudes confidence that she will win the seat with ease.

“Bomet County requires a woman leader who can walk the talk, not one who takes leadership on the whims and political guidance of her pay masters,” Mrs Korir said.

The Jubilee candidate said her leadership has been “tried and tested”, pointing out that she can be counted on to deliver.

“It is only Jubilee that has put up a strong campaign for the election of all its candidates — unlike CCM, where, in the wake of the tough competition, Governor Ruto has resorted to campaigning for himself only, leaving his party’s candidates fighting for survival on their own,” Mrs Korir observed.

UHURU
Ms Siele, who vied for the seat in 2013 and emerged the runner-up, says she is ready to take over leadership.  

“I and Joyce are in political parties that support President Kenyatta’s re-election,” Ms Siele said.

“I hope the electorate will do the right thing and accord us the support we are yearning for.”

PARTY POPULARITY
Ms Siele, who has also been agitating for the rights of women in the region, said she will fight for their economic empowerment if elected to the position.

According to Mr Kibore Fredrick and Ms Elizabeth Langat, political analysts in the region, the choice of a political party will play a major role in determining who emerges the winner.

“The stage is now clear for a major fight in Bomet. Jubilee Party has already declared Bomet their zone,” Mr Kibore said.

He added: “Governor Ruto and his supporters, on the other hand, are of the contrary opinion. It now remains to be seen who eventually clinches the seat.”

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