SECTIONS

Former PC Francis Sigei wins MP seat after losing three times

Former Nairobi Provincial Commissioner Francis Sigei. [File, Standard]

Former Nairobi Provincial Commissioner Francis Sigei is the MP-elect for Sotik.

Sigei, who vied on a UDA ticket, says the win is a dream come true after three failed attempts.

He said he persisted because of his vision for the constituency.

“I am not taking the chance for granted and I am not looking at how many times I have tried. I only want to change my constituency for the better,” the MP-elect told The Standard at his Chebilat home.

Sigei garnered 41,392 votes to beat the outgoing MP Dominic Koskei (independent) who got 26,170 votes.

CCM’s Emily Sawe came third with a paltry 900 votes while Kipchumba Towett another independent candidate got 379 votes.

Sigei lost to Koskei in 2017 elections.

He has been eyeing the seat since the 2007 elections.

Locals blamed Sigei’s losing streak on unfavourable political dynamics in the constituency.

The MP-elect who hails from Kapletundo Ward, in the upper zone of Sotik Constituency, has been the only leader from the area who has been facing off with aspirants from the vote-rich lower area.

“Sigei has been losing not because he is unfit but because he comes from the upper zone that has fewer votes,” said Ivor Korir, a political observer.

Korir noted that the lower zone votes as a bloc to the disadvantage of Sigei who has been unable to convince the upper zone to vote for him to the last man.

Outgoing Sotik MP Dominic Koskei. [Gilbert Kimutai, Standard]

He said the just concluded elections favoured Sigei because of the marginalisation of the upper zone.

“For the first time upper zone voted as a bloc while the lower zone split their votes between three candidates creating a leeway for Sigei to win,” said Korir.

The former Nairobi PC joined politics in 2002 after quitting his job at the Ministry of Higher Education where he was Deputy Secretary.

Sigei lost to former Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso after she decamped from ODM to URP.

The then URP leader William Ruto mobilised local politicians led by Isaac Ruto to drum up support for Laboso against the former PC who was running as an independent candidate.

Sigei would later be nominated as the High Commissioner to Nigeria.

He said the election season was baptism by fire.

“Despite the decades I spent in public service, I played catch up all the way to voting day,” he said.

Sigei said despite losing elections three times, he did not lose hope.

“My appointment as ambassador gave me time and energy since it was an indicator they realised my role,” he said. He said the appointment was calculated to remove him from the constituency and ensure he does not engage voters.

Come 2012, Sigei resigned to try his luck in the 2013 elections but lost in the URP nominations.

He registered as an independent candidate and mounted a serious campaign but the contest was tight and he lost to Laboso.

“Being an independent candidate, I could not survive the six-piece suit voting pattern that was sold to voters,” he said.

Former Nairobi Provincial Commissioner Francis Sigei. [File, Standard]

The father of five revealed that he retreated to his Chebilat village to manage his tea farms.

With eyes still on the prize he continued meeting locals to gauge their views. Sigei suffered another blow in Jubilee nominations 2017 where he lost to Koskei.

He claims the nominations were rigged. This forced him to register as an independent candidate for the third time but he lost again.

“I ate humble pie after being defeated for the fifth time and allowed the current MP to proceed to Parliament,” he said.

Sigei said he went home vowing to return stronger. “I worked in various parts of the country as an administrator and had seen the potential Sotik had that was not being exploited and vowed to work day and night to win the seat,” he said yesterday.

Having picked lessons from past elections he tried his luck in UDA nominations with caution.

He also reached out to the vote-rich lower zone of the constituency.

“Being popular in the upper zone owing to my frequency in seeking votes, I ventured out to the lower zone which proved to be the icing on the cake,” he said.

Sigei attributes his win to the marginalisation of the upper zone which led to a protest vote.

“The protest vote was almost to a man and I thank God for opening the eyes of my people on the things I have been pushing all along,” he said.

Sigei appealed to his competitors to work with him in implementing his vision.