Baringo South MP Grace Kipchoim was elected while still in hospital

Grace Kipchoim

Despite being sickly, Grace Kipchoim was re-elected as Baringo South MP in a highly contested election.

Ms Kipchoim vied on a Jubilee Party ticket and clinched the seat, thanks to her development track record and efforts to restore sanity in the insecurity-hit constituency.

The MP-elect from Tugen community got 9,299 votes against her closest competitor Charles Kamuren's (Kanu) 8,905 votes.

Other candidates included Amos Olempaka (ODM) who got had 5,645, Cynthia Kiplchilat (Maendeleo Chap Chap) and Bundotich Cheboiyow (Independent).

Surprisingly, while her competitors ran vigorous campaigns, Kipchoim did not conduct even a single rally as she was bed-ridden.

Party nomination

She also did not cast her vote during Jubilee Party nominations held in April but still emerged the winner.

"My political journey has not been easy, amid illness. This is God's making. He makes things work for our good. I am thankful to the electorate for making me proud once more," said a joyful Kipchoim from her Nairobi Hospital bed.

Kipchoim acknowledges her supporters for working tirelessly for her re-election.

In her absence, she says Baringo South Constituency Development Fund (CDF) committee took charge of running the constituency and initiating various development projects for the benefit of the electorate.

The projects, she acknowledges, won her trust among the electorate, making it easier for her to trounce her opponents in the recently concluded elections.

CDF management

In 2016/17 evaluation reports conducted by National Government Constituencies Development Fund Board (NGCDF), Baringo South was ranked position 15 out of 290 constituencies in proper funds management.

Example of projects initiated by CDF allocation include construction of classes in several schools, among them Tuyoitich, Ngarie, Patkawanin day and boarding, Nyimbei, Mwenge and Sabor.

More than seven schools have also benefited as they have bought buses from CDF allocations. The schools include Kiserian Boys', Mochongoi Secondary School, Mwenge Secondary, Lake Bogoria Girls, Ng'ambo Girls, Sabor High School and Sangarau Girls.

"Most schools in Mochongoi location had mud walls and, through DCF allocation, they have got a face-lift," she said.

After being elected for her first term in 2013, Kipchoim was instrumental in fighting cattle rustling by Pokot raiders.

Kipchoim invited several top security personnel, among them former Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo and his deputy Grace Kahindi, to help restore sanity in the area.

After the visits, several youths were recruited as Kenya Police Reservists.

Insecurity, she notes, was the main challenge in seeking re-election, as a majority of voters who had been displaced from their homes thought she had not done enough to restore sanity in an area.

A group of professionals from Mochongoi location even blamed the banditry in the region on her poor health and her marital status.

According to her, they claimed the raids would continue if she was re-elected as she was a curse by virtue of being a widow.

"It hit me by surprise as my opponents used various forums to fight me, claiming I am a 'bad omen' to the community because I am a widow," said Kipchoim.

Kipchoim is however not discouraged, she holds her head up and promises to continue fighting the menace to enable displaced families return to their homes.

She notes that security is her main agenda during her second term as the area MP.

"My joy is to see my people get back to their homes and be able to take their children to school without fear," she said.

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