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Candidates eyeing Baringo South seat intensify campaigns

By Julius Chepkwony | Published Thu, August 16th 2018 at 00:00, Updated August 15th 2018 at 23:19 GMT +3
Baringo south parliamentary candidate Cynthia Kipchilat. [Kipsang Joseph/Standard]

Candidates vying for the Baringo South seat have intensified their campaigns with just two days to go before the poll.

The candidates are Charles Kamuren of Jubilee party, Dr Cynthia Kipchilat (Maendeleo Chap Chap) and Paul Motoloi of Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM).

Sylvester Sergon of Republican Liberty Party dropped out of the race on Saturday to back Dr Kipchilat.

The contest is, however, shaping up as a two-horse race between Maendeleo Chap Chap's Kipchilat and Jubilee's Kamuren.

Kamuren and Kipchilat ran in the August 2017 General Election, but lost to former MP Grace Kipchoim. The MP died of cancer in a Nairobi hospital in April.

There are 35,162 registered voters in the constituency. The area has 132 polling stations.

The winner in the by-election will have an uphill task in the fight against insecurity, and infrastructural development.

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Kipchilat, the only woman in the race, holds a Doctorate in International Business from the University of Florida in the US, and is a former lecturer at Egerton University.

The 50-year-old told The Standard that the reason she wants to be elected MP is to help the people of Baringo South; by addressing their needs.

“I want to reach out to the people of Baringo South. The community needs a boost from the grassroots. It only through adequate representation in Parliament that their needs will be addressed,” said Kipchilat.

The former lecturer feels her time to serve the people is now.

Kipchilat said she is the only one who can step into Kipchoim's shoes, and also aims at completing her projects.

With her campaign slogan "mama amalize kazi ya mama", Kipchilat said her focus was on the vulnerable in the society, and promised to be a major player in helping residents of Baringo South.

When Kamuren decamped to Jubilee, from Kanu, many saw it as a walkover for him, but there are those that believe events over the last one month could change the tide in favour of Kipchilat.

"We are shocked that Kipchilat may upset the tide in what we had considered a done deal when DP William Ruto received Kamuren at Marigat," said a Jubilee MP on condition of anonymity.

The MP said all has not been well in the Jubilee camp. Supporters of Kipchoim, who Kamuren had contested against in 2013 and 2017, did not take it kindly when Kamuren challenged her win in court even when she was sick.

"There is a lot of bitterness from the supporters of the late Kipchoim and as it is now, we are not sure how it will go, but we hope for the best," added the MP.

The change of the tide on the ground saw Jubilee MPs from Baringo being marshalled on Saturday to campaign for Kamuren.

The MPs who toured the region were led by Baringo North MP William Cheptumo, Moses Lessonet (Eldama Ravine) and East African MP Flowrence Jematia. Water Principal Secretary Prof Fred Segor also campaigned for Kamuren.

John Kimaiyo, a resident, said the revolt against the Jubilee candidate could have something to do with allegations of vote theft during the party primaries, where Kamuren beat his close competitor Mark Kebenei.

Kamuren said his focus was on insecurity, education and infrastructure.

With his philosophy anchored on 'Mwananchi Kwanza', he seeks to achieve a participatory leadership and sustainable development in the region.

"We will put common mwananchi in the forefront of every decision making. Their issues will always be a priority," he said.

Mr Kamuren is a former Baringo Kenya National Union of Teachers secretary and a Kanu nominated MCA in the first Baringo county assembly.


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