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Absentee W. Pokot Deputy Governor Atudonyang jets back three days to election

West Pokot Deputy Governor Nicholas Atudonyang during Kanu chairman Gideon Moi launching party’s manifesto at Kabarnet Gardens on March 9, 2022.  [David Gichuru, Standard]

Kanu governor candidate Nicholas Atudonyang jetted into the country on Saturday, only three days before the elections.

Atudonyang, a US-based doctor, was elected as Governor John Lonyangapuo's deputy in 2017.

He campaigned in various parts of West Pokot after being away for close to two months since his clearance by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission in June.

Speaking at Makutano town, the deputy governor said he had come to fulfil his promise of sending Lonyangapuo home.

“He has not done enough, and he doesn't have to be re-elected. We will teach him a lesson of a lifetime," he said.

Atudonyang noted that the county is in the wrong hands, and cited poor health services, and corruption as among the issues that voters should vote out the incumbent governor.

“I am asking you to vote for Kanu leaders from MCA to governor. We should stand against bad leadership,” he said.

He urged locals to make a wise decision on the ballot by voting for him.

“He (Lonyangapuo) thinks he is the only professor, but we have more professors than him. If I am elected, I will respect people s property and county resources," he said.

He added, “I thank the voters for conducting peaceful and mature politics, it's only a matter of time to remove Lonyangapuo from leadership.”

Atudonyang campaigned in Makutano, Kabichbich, Kapsait and Chepkono.

The Kanu candidate is facing his former boss who is vying on a KUP ticket and Simon Kachapin of UDA.

On June 3, Atudonyang received a certificate from Kanu at the party’s headquarters, but soon afterwards went silent and did not hold any campaign rallies in the county.

Meanwhile, his competitors- the incumbent governor and Kachapin hit the ground running, wooing voters to support their bid.

In March, Atudonyang was forced to defend himself after he returned to the country after a four-year hiatus. He then announced his bid to run for governorship.

He said he saved the county money through his absence since there was no office to run.

In an earlier interview with Spice FM, Atudonyang said despite being away, he never lost the connection with his people in West Pokot county and focused on championing and improving the living standards of his people.

"West Pokot County is a marginalised area, schools are not that good, but we still have a way to improve with little resources available so that we can be better off," he said.

Atudonyang lauded devolution, saying it gave marginalised counties a chance to develop and catch up with the rest of the counties.

"By joining the governorship race, it is one way of changing the politics of West Pokot County," he said.

He said he wasn't a first-time politician because in 2007 he contested for a parliamentary seat, although he was not elected.

“I will prioritise the needs of the people and education remains my focus. We campaigned for Kanu with my boss in 2017, and I still believe in the philosophy of the Kanu party," he said.

Atudonyang claimed that he supported the health department by donating hospital equipment and looking for funds to improve health services.

In 2020, some senators urged Members of the County Assembly to impeach Atudonyang for absconding from duties.