Leaders divided as lobbying for Speaker’s post intensifies

By Edwin Makiche

Bomet, Kenya: Intense lobbying is expected to kick off this week after Bomet County Assembly declared the speaker’s seat vacant.

In an advert in one of the dailies Monday, Bomet Interim Clerk John ole Nkeere called for qualified candidates to submit their credentials before the August 19 deadline. The election will be held on August 21.

The seat fell vacant after the high court ruled the election of John Lang’at unconstitutional on grounds that he had not resigned by the time he vied for the position.

Lang’at is the immediate clerk of Kipsigis County Council. He held the position for barely three months. Efforts by his lawyers to appeal the decision were unsuccessful.

With the election being just a fortnight away, intense lobbying for the seat has began. Party loyalty, regional balance and county politics are expected to be a major determinant of who will garner most votes.

The county has five constituencies, namely Bomet East, Sotik, Konoin, Bomet central and Chepalungu. It is represented by 25 elected county representatives.

The battle between Deputy President William Ruto and Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto is also hailed as one of the factors that could determine the winner of the race.

Devolution process

For the past weeks, the two leaders have differed, with the governor accusing the Jubilee government of stifling the devolution process.

The issue has been divisive, with some county representatives rallying behind the governor and others supporting the Deputy President.

Already, two strong contenders, Joel Koskei and Geofrey Kipng’etich have expressed interest in the seat. Koskei, a Kericho-based lawyer, came second during the speaker’s elections that were held in March.

Kipng’etich vied for the Konoin parliamentary seat on a Kanu ticket during the last General Election but lost it to Sammy Koech of the United Republican Party.