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Jubilee, Kanu brace themselves for battle in Nandi by-election

By Titus Too | May 8th 2016

The scramble for political supremacy in Rift Valley will be renewed when Jubilee, Kanu and Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) battle for the vacant Lelmokwo/ Ngechek ward seat in Nandi County. 

Three candidates have been cleared to vie for the seat in the June 3 by-election, effectively setting the stage for a month of bruising campaigns.

The three — Julius Kipkosgei Arusei of Jubilee, Ezekiel Lelei of Kanu and Elphas Kirwa Kimego of CCM — presented their nomination papers to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) this week.

Focus will now shift to the ward in the North Rift region, three months after the high stakes Kericho senatorial by-election won by Jubilee and the Nyangores ward by-election in Bomet won by a People’s Patriotic Party of Kenya’s candidate.

With less than a month before voters go to the polls, key party leaders are preparing to tour the area to campaign for their candidates.

The by-election, which comes 16 months before the August 2017 General Election, was triggered by the death of former MCA and Nandi County Assembly Deputy Speaker Hesbon Metto early this year.

The candidates are bracing themselves for spirited campaigns. “I have officially started my campaign and I am set to face off with two other candidates in Kanu and CCM. My campaign team is already in place,” said Arusei, the Jubilee candidate.

Lelei, the Kanu candidate popularly known as Bamwai, said he was ready to serve.

“I  appeal  to all voters in Lelmokwo/Ngechek ward to turn up in large numbers during the by-election and make the right decision because the future belongs to them,” he said.

CCM’s Kimego said he would strive to improve the livelihoods of residents.

“Our policies are geared towards building the economy of our region through the improvement of roads, water projects, agriculture and tourism,” said Kimego.

Kanu Secretary General Nick Salat (pictured) said residents of Lelmokwo/Ngechek ward would back the party’s candidate. “We lost faith with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) due to its handling of the Kericho by-elections. We believed they could not handle credible elections but our supporters in Lelmokwo/Ngechek ward urged us to present a candidate,” said Salat.

Poor roads, upgrading of the Mosoriot Teachers Training College into a public university, provision of water, speedy construction of Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) and tarmacking of roads within Mosoriot Trading Centre will be the key talking points during the campaigns.

Chesumei MP Elijah Lagat said Jubilee must brace itself to face a strong challenge from Kanu. “There will be a big tussle for the seat because the Kanu candidate was second in the 2013 General Election,” said Lagat.

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