Jubilee’s Aaron Cheruiyot floors Kanu’s Paul Sang in Kericho mini-poll
Jubilee Party’s Aaron Cheruiyot is the new Kericho Senator-elect.
Cheruiyot emerged winner after garnering 109,358 votes beating his closest challenger Paul Sang of Kanu who garnered 56,307 votes.
The win demonstrates Jubilee’s grip in the vote-rich region while at the same time re-affirming Deputy President William Ruto’s influence in the South Rift region amid Kanu’s apparent renaissance.
The contest, which had been described by many as a show of might between the former ruling party, Kanu, and an enlivened Jubilee Party had been tipped as key point for DP Ruto whose hold in the region had been under constant threat from emerging rebellion led by Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto, Baringo Senator Gideon Moi and Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter.
Despite the eventual uncertainty that gripped the polls over who will carry the day, Cheruiyot managed to floor Sang in a race that attracted six candidates with 58 per cent of the registered voters turning up to vote.
Cheruiyot, 31, took the lead from the start of the vote counting process and maintained his hold to the last vote.
Other candidates in the race included Daniel Tonui (NVP) who got 772, MDP’s Wycliffe Kipkemoi Ngenoh (497), UDM’s Paul Kipyegon Sigei (473), and David Kipkoech Mutai of ND who garnered 427.
The senatorial seat was left vacant after Charles Keter was appointed into Cabinet by President Uhuru Kenyatta to take charge of the Energy Ministry which was left vacant after the dismissal of Davis Chirchir over corruption allegations.
The contest came barely a month after Governor Ruto-backed Andrew Maritim of the People’s Patriotic Party of Kenya beat Jubilee’s Richard Leitich to win the Nyongores Ward by-election.
Maritim garnered 4,988 votes with Leitich coming in second with 3,029.
In his campaign rallies, however, DP Ruto had expressed optimism in retaking the Kericho senatorial seat despite Kanu’s resurgence.
The deputy president stated that Kanu had nothing to offer noting that they did not do anything for the locals during the 24 years the party was in power.
Kanu’s Gideon Moi, however, sought to demystify the pessimism associated with the party by stating that they were the new and only way out for the region.
The campaigns were also marred by allegations of ‘outside’ interference with DP Ruto claiming that Kanu candidate Paul Sang was a project of CORD leader Raila Odinga, claims that the party vehemently refuted.
The youthful Senator-elect saw off competition from seasoned politicians including former National Housing Corporation chair Sammy Chepkwony, former Roads Minister Franklin Bett and former ODM Executive Director Magerer Lagat to win the Jubilee Party nomination in January this year.
What next for Cheruiyot?
Cheruiyot will now have to shift his focus to delivering on his campaign promises including rolling out youth and women empowerment programmes and sensitising the locals on government programmes on offer.
“During my campaign, I realised that many people do not know how to access youth and women funds. I will focus on helping them through the process so that they can benefit from such projects,” Cheruiyot had said in an interview with Citizen Digital during the campaign period.
“I will also set up an entrepreneurship hub in all the six sub counties in Kericho and teach the locals the basics of the business world. This will help them know how to enter business deals with private companies, parastatals and hospitals.”
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