Henry Kosgey and sons eye elective seats in polls

Henry Kosgey (left) is vying for Nandi County gubernatorial seat while his sons, Alex and Allan, are seeking parliamentary seats in Emgwen and Kesses constituencies respectively. 

After weeks of shadow boxing, former Cabinet Minister Henry Kosgey faces a mountain to climb as he seeks to forge his political dynasty come Jubilee Party nominations on Friday.

Kosgey is vying for Nandi County gubernatorial seat while his sons, Alex and Allan, are seeking parliamentary seats in Emgwen and Kesses constituencies respectively.

Alex, the last born son, is seeking re-election in Emgwen in Nandi County while Allan, the elder son, makes his debut in politics in Kesses in Uasin Gishu County; all vying on Jubilee tickets.

The family's aspirations seem to raise eyebrows in the North Rift region though the candidates bank on their constitutional right to contest.

But Kosgey, who served as MP for Tinderet Constituency for almost three decades, announced his bid during a church function at his Lelwak home in Nandi Hills Constituency last year – barely a few days after he was appointed as chairman of Tourism Fund by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

"If you elect me, I will accord equal representation to all the one million residents of Nandi County. I will be a Governor for all, not a few people," he said.

The former ODM national chairman resurfaced after years in the cold and will square it out with other nine aspirants including incumbent Dr Cleophas Lagat, former Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Felix Kosgei and Senator Stephen Sang.

In 2013, Kosgey lost Senator's seat to Sang while riding on ODM ticket.

Although his sons have mounted aggressive campaigns, Kosgey – an astute politician – seemingly pulls the strings from a distance.

Last week, Allan launched his manifesto at Cheplasgei area in Kesses with a promise to uplift locals' living standards on his 3E mantra of Education, Employment and Empowerment.

He also seeks to sponsor 60 students from every ward in a scholarship scheme, which he affirms will be from alternative funding.

"I am a resident of Uasin Gishu because of the family roots that originated from here. I am appealing to the electorate to try me and see the fruits of development," said Allan, a lawyer.

He will take on a host of 11 aspirants in the Jubilee nominations that include a Indian-born-Kenyan Dr Swarup Mishra, former MP David Koros and Uasin Gishu County Speaker Isaac Terer.

Others in the race are Jacob Kipsang Yego, Pius Chirchir, Hellen Jeptanui Chepkwony, Joseph Kipngetich Lagat, Joseph Kiprop Kapkiyai and Jebitok Hellen Kili and incumbent James Bett.

Whoever sails through will face off with Kanu's candidate at the ballot.

Kanu has three contestants in Cornelius Kogo, Rev Daniel Rugut and Gilbert Sato and are expected to settle on a candidate through a consensus based on popularity.

Kosgey's other son Alex will duck it out with other aspirants that include Beijing Olympics 800 metres champion Wilfred Bungei and Meshack Kimutai, the national chairman Kenya Youth Alliance.

"It is a democratic right for anyone to seek an elective post. Voters will the final verdict," said Bungei.

He added: "When we were in athletics, we used to prepare well with the knowledge that we will be facing off with competitors. I am prepared for the contest for Emgwen constituency."

Three sister in-laws in Nandi County have also expressed interest in political adding up to the growing list of families in political contests.

Theresa Chepkwony, Stellah Rutto and Lucy Chepkwony married to the same family in Chepterit in running for political seats.

Theresa, who was previously Nandi Governor political advisor, is eyeing the Women Rep seat while Stellah, a former high school teacher, eyes senatorial seat.

Lucy, a former Nominated councillor, will be eyeing the Kosirai Member of County seat on Jubilee ticket.

Their campaigns have been met with mixed reactions with most locals insisting that the family should front one candidate.

"They all want elective seats and are cushioned by the Constitution but we believe they should have given us one candidate," said Martin Kipyego.

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