The stage is set for a cutthroat fight between the various camps eyeing the Kericho gubernatorial seat through the Jubilee Party (JP) in the 2017 general election.
And while President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto are on record stating that the new outfit wouldn't have preferential candidates in the election, Ruto's allay Energy Cabinet Secretary (CS) Charles Keter seems to be reading from a different scrip.
Speaking during a fundraising at Nyabangi primary school in Belgut constituency, Keter declared that would "put the county's leadership in order" by ensuring that his former Kericho High schoolmate, Governor Paul Chepkwony is sent packing home.
"I will not be vying any seat in the next year's election but I will determine who would be the county next governor. I wish Chepkwony the best, but listen to me carefully the plans are in advance stage. I have met some senior county leaders and I have done the mathematics and we will put the house in order," said Keter.
Keter is fronting Richard Langat, the suspended National Social Security Fund (NSSF) trustee who is currently facing Sh5.5B financial misappropriation of fund case over the Tassia II housing scheme.
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But in a quick rejoinder, Chepkwony welcomed JP decision that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) would conduct the party nominations reminding Keter that power rest with the people.
"I was overwhelmingly elected as the governor in the 2013 general election and the electorate have not changed. Wait and see, they would vote for the person who they want not someone else project. My closest challenger won't even come close," said the governor.
Keter's remarks also appeared to rub Aaron Cheruiyot, his successor at the Senate the wrong way.
Speaking during a fundraising at Kapsoit Full Gospel church, Cheruiyot who was accompanied by fellow senators Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo- Marakwet) and Stephen Sang (Nandi), maintained that Jubilee Party (JP) doesn't have a preferred candidate to wrestle the county's leadership from governor Paul Chepkwony.
"There is a statement that circulated in the county last week that Jubilee Party (JP) would give preferential treatment to some political candidates in the 2017 general election. That is far from the truth," said Cheruiyot.
The senator pointed out that senior Jubilee leaders had stated clearly that the era when politician rode into power through political patronage had come to an end.
"In this era, it is the wananchi who are the kingmakers. Therefore, anyone who want to get elected must woo and convince the electorate. They are the ones who hire and fire politicians," said Cheruiyot.
Nonetheless, Chepkwony's other challenger, Engineer Fredrick Kirui, a Director at the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) who was accompanied by Kipkelion West Member of Parliament (MP) Jackson Rop, during a fundraising function at Lesirwa argued that he was the best man for the job.
"Kipkelion residents have under Chepkwony's administration only enjoyed half-hearted projects, they is why they have decided to tolerate it for only one term and then give me a chance to take over," said Kirui.
Others said to be considering to take on Chepkwony include, Ainamoi MP Benjamin Langat, former roads minister Franklin Bett, Nairobi based business tycoon Jonah Keter among others.