Kanu Secretary General Nick Salat. (Photo: Elvis Ogina/Standard)
The Bomet senatorial race is promising yet another bruising battle between the Jubilee Party (JP) and independence party Kanu.
On the face, it might just be a battle between the incumbent Prof Wilfred Lesan and Kanu Secretary General Nick Salat.
But behind the shadows is the renewed political rivalry between Deputy President William Ruto and his political nemesis in Rift Valley and Kanu chairman Gideon Moi.
Though its a crowded field, political pundits in the region have narrowed the battle to Lesan and Salat.
Though the number of aspiring candidates seeking Jubilee ticket keeps rising by the day, political observers say Lesan will carry the day.
“Despite Prof Lesan’s popularity taking a beating lately, the large number of candidates eyeing the Senate race is tilting the tide in his favour since he is a common factor in all the constituencies and the other candidates are only popular in their home constituencies,” Ivor Korir, a political observer in the county, told The Standard in an interview.
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Lesan beat Salat in a closely-fought contest during the last General Election that made its way even to the Supreme Court.
For the vocal Kanu secretary general, there is no better time for a ‘revenge’ than in the August polls. Salat said despite losing the petition against Lesan in court, the electorate in Bomet is out to deliver a harsh judgment by handing him a landslide victory.
Lesan is facing off with Bomet County Assembly Speaker Geoffrey Kipngetich, Nairobi-based lawyer Joel Koskei, activist Enock Kemei, Bomet Youth President Stacy Saida Chepkemoi and Dr Paul Chirchir in the fight for Jubilee ticket.
Andrew Langat, who came in a distant third in the last General Election, will hope for better fortunes on an Orange Democratic Movement party ticket.
In Kericho County, the senatorial race is headed to be Jubilee only affair after the Kanu candidate in March 7, 2016, by-election Paul Sang stepped down his political ambitions to focus on the Bureti parliamentary seat.
Speaking in Chebangoror trading centre in Soin/Sigowet constituency, Sang who gave Jubilee and more so, Deputy President William Ruto a political nightmare during the run-up to the by-election which was eventually won by Senator Arron Cheruiyot, said he had since decided to shift focus to the parliamentary seat.
Sang, who is set to get direct nomination from Kanu due to lack of any other rival eyeing the Bureti parliamentary seat through the independent party, will battle it out with the Jubilee candidate who will emerge from the crowd of the party aspirants.
Those keen to fly the Jubilee flag comprise the incumbent Leonard Sang, Speaker of the Kericho County Assembly Japheth Kiptergech Mutai, former Rift Valley Law Society of Kenya chairman Bernard Ngetich, road contractor Charles Langat among others.
“I served as the Bureti Member of Parliament for two terms (1997-2002 and 2002- 2007) and my development record in education, health among other areas remain unchallenged and that is why I have decided to go back and reclaim my former seat,” said Sang.
He added that if elected, his first mission would be to complete the construction of a maternity theatre at the Roret Hospital which has stalled for over 10 years after he initiated it while he was the then Bureti MP.
“My parliamentary successors failed to complete the construction of a theatre at the Roret hospital and that is why I am asking the Bureti residents to give me another chance so that I can complete the project so that expectant mothers can no longer be forced to travel to the Kapkatet or Kericho county hospital in cases of medical emergency,” said Sang.
Jubilee would also have a field day in the senatorial seat, after Stella Koech who vied for the seat through Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) in the 2013 General Election against Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter, also shifted focus to the Ainamoi parliamentary seat.
Mrs Koech, a Kericho-based lawyer, will be vying for the Ainamoi parliamentary seat on an ODM ticket.
Those eyeing the Jubilee ticket include former Criminal Investigation Division (CID) director Noah Too’s daughter Anne Too, Kericho Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) branch executive Stanley Mutai, former Kericho Teachers Training College principal Harry Langat as well as Silvanus Maritim among others.
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