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Aaron Cheruiyot adds to Rift Valley's streak of young senators

By Jacob Ng'etich | March 10th 2016

Rift Valley has continued its streak of electing young senators, with Kericho's Aaron Cheruiyot, 29, now being the youngest.

Previously, Nandi Senator Stephen Sang, who was elected at the age of 28 in the 2013 General Election, was the youngest.

Mr Cheruiyot was declared the winner by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) with 109,358 votes against Kanu's Paul Sang, who secured 56,241 votes in the mini-polls.

During the Jubilee Alliance Party (JAP) nomination, the youthful Cheruiyot floored big names including former Roads minister Franklin Bett, former Kipkelion MP and one-time ODM Executive Director Magerer Lang'at and former National Housing Corporation chairman Sammy Chepkwony to win the ticket.

Cheruiyot is a Nairobi businessman who graduated from Moi University with a Bachelor of Arts in Language and Literary Studies (Literature option) degree in 2010.

In the 2013 polls, the North Rift region went for youthful leaders for both senatorial and gubernatorial elections, thus producing both the youngest elected senator and governor in the 47 counties.

In Nandi, Sang beat ODM chairman Henry Kosgey to become the first Nandi senator under the 2010 Constitution.

Kosgey was defeated by then little-known Sang, who was a consultant on governance, democracy and devolution and was working in various institutions, including local and international NGOs.

Uasin Gishu's Isaac Melly also held the record of the second youngest senator in a contest that pitted him against former State House Comptroller Abraham Kiptanui. Melly is currently 33 years old.

Closely following in the hierarchy was Elgeyo Marakwet senator Kipchumba Murkomen, now 36, who was then the third youngest senator. Murkomen beat former long-time minister Nicholas Biwott.

Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos, 32, and his Uasin Gishu counterpart Jackson Mandago, now in his late 30s, were also in the youthful club.

Mandago, a graduate of Kenyatta University, was a newcomer in politics, having worked at the Teachers Service Commission.

Cheruiyot and the other young senators from the region were making their debut in politics.

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