It was a big win for President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) after it retained a Senate and two National Assembly seats in Thursday’s by-elections.
UDA candidates emerged victorious in Elgeyo Marakwet Senate contest and Kandara and Garissa Township parliamentary races.
The seats fell vacant after Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and MPs Alice Wahome (Kandara) and Aden Duale (Garissa Township) were appointed to the Cabinet.
In Elgeyo Marakwet, UDA’s William Kisang was declared the second Senator following a hotly contested by-election.
Mr Kisang - the former Marakwet West MP - succeeds Murkomen who was appointed Roads and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary last October.
He garnered 41,378 votes against his closest challenger Tim Kipchumba (38,141) of the Party of Peace and Development (PPD). Safina Party’s Jerotich Seii came a distant third with 2,660 votes while lawyer Andrew Mengich (Independent) polled 503 votes.
Timothy Tanui (New Democrats) and Kevin Kemboi (Independent) garnered 397 and 382 votes, respectively in the race that attracted six candidates.
Last-ditch efforts by UDA top brass led by Murkomen three days to the close of the campaigns appeared to have borne fruits after Mr Kipchumba (PPD) posed a major threat to the ruling party.
The election was characterised by a low voter turnout, with 83,471 out of 209,964 registered voters participating, representing 39.7 per cent turnout.
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Speaking after being declared the winner by Elgeyo Marakwet County Returning Officer Charles Mutai, the Senator-elect said he would unite the county after the fiercely contested race.
“I will not be exactly like my predecessor (Murkomen) because everyone has their unique style of leadership. I will work closely with him to develop Elgeyo Marakwet, and I will raise the bar as soon as I get into office,” Kisang said.
He lauded his rivals - Mr Kipchumba, Ms Jerotich, Mr Mengich, Mr Kboi and Mr Tanui - for conceding defeat.
“Tim (Kipchumba) and Jerotich Seii called to congratulate me, and this is the spirit we want to see in our politics. I accepted defeat when I lost in the August (2022) Marakwet West MP race, and the Senate opportunity came, and this time, the people rewarded me for accepting the defeat,” Kisang said.
His closest rival, Kipchumba, tweeted that he had called the winner a few minutes to midnight, and congratulated him.
“I assured him (Kisang) of my support as my Senator and the Senator-elect of Elgeyo Marakwet. It is time for us to support him and our Kenya Kwanza government under President Ruto,” said Kipchumba, who yesterday went around Iten and other major towns, thanking his supporters.
Third placed Jerotich Seii, who was the only woman in the race, while conceding defeat said: “Wakenya (Kenyans), those weren’t the results we had hoped for lakini asiyekubali kushindwa si mshindani (but anyone who does not accept defeat is not a worthy competitor. The complex world of politics isn’t for jokes. #ElgeyoMarakwet did not send me to the Senate to fight from the inside but I will continue to fight on the outside always for Wanjiku.”
In Kandara, UDA aspirant Chege Njuguna defeated seven opponents to emerge the winner.
Njuguna polled 21,650 votes while Ford Asili’s Titus Njau Mbuchu garnered 14,678 votes.
Candidates Kiburu PMG Junior of Usawa Kwa Wote party garnered 1,469 votes, Samuel Kioni (TND) 201 votes, Joseph Mbugua (JFP) 107 votes. Independent candidates were David Kamweti Njuguna (207), Pius Muiruri (100) and Erastus Gatehi Nyoike (36 votes).
Announcing the results, IEBC coordinator Linnah Kilonzi said the constituency by-election registered a 36.73 per cent voter turnout.
“Only 38,625 voters turned up to cast their votes in a constituency with 105,148 registered voters,” said Kilonzi.
In Garissa, UDA’s Dekow Barrow Mohamed was declared winner after garnering 11,572 votes against his competitor Nasir Dolal alias Jofle. In last year’s General Election, Dekow contested the gubernatorial seat on a UDA ticket and finished a distant third.
Story written by Stephen Rutto, Boniface Gikandi and Abdimalik Hajir