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Lady lawyer takes on men in election

 Ainaimoi parliamentary aspirant Stella Koech with Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and a Kipsigis elder, Isaiah Cheluget, at a past meeting.

In the 2013 General Election, 37-year-old Stella Koech surprised many with her attempt to crack the proverbial glass ceiling by entering the senatorial race on an ODM ticket.

At the time, Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter (URP) and former Health minister Paul Sang (Kanu) were also in the race.

But after coming in third behind the veteran politicians, Ms Koech shifted her focus to the Ainamoi parliamentary seat in this year's election, again via ODM.

The Kericho-based lawyer's move is significant given that no other woman in the county has ever vied for a parliamentary seat.

"This time I believe my chances of winning are higher. Kericho residents are disillusioned with the Jubilee government owing to the skyrocketing cost of basic commodities and that is why they are ready to give the Opposition a listening ear and are likely to vote for it," said Koech.

 Law graduate

The Moi University law graduate will be running against Sylvanus Maritim who will be flying the Jubilee Party flag.

Also in the race is Ainamoi MP Benjamin Langat who will be fighting to retain his seat as an independent candidate.

Mr Langat found himself in an awkward position after his bid to win the mandate to fly the governorship flag was dealt a blow by Governor Paul Chepkwony, who beat the MP in the primaries.

"What I like about the Ainamoi seat is that all the parliamentary aspirants are playing on the same level ground. The Jubilee candidate is in my age bracket and on the other hand, the incumbent is already suffering political bruises after his defeat in the governorship nominations. The loss discouraged his supporters and his support base is very thin now," said Koech.

The mother of one also argued that Ainamoi constituency, which is the headquarters of Kericho County, is cosmopolitan and receptive to ODM.

"I was among those who helped the residents to articulate their issues during the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission's hearings. I have also raised the issues of historical injustices meted out on members of the Kipsigis community and Talai clan."

The aspirant added that if she was elected, her focus would be on education, provision of clean piped and formulation of bills aimed at uplifting living standards.

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