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Following in fathers’ footsteps: Children of former politicians fighting to get seats

Politics

Former Nakuru CEC Trade Raymond Komen [Kipsang Joseph, Standard].

Prominent political families in the Rift Valley are jostling to retain their dominance on the country’s electoral map, promising bruising battles with incumbents and newcomers.

Children of former politicians have declared interest in various positions and are banking on the influence of their families to clinch the seats.

Some are even prepared to take on their siblings in their quest to win elective seats that were once occupied by their father.

In Rongai, Nakuru County, two sons of former Rongai MP the late William Komen are among the aspirants eyeing the parliamentary seat in the August 9 elections.

Raymond Komen resigned as the Nakuru County Trade executive to contest for the seat.

His younger brother Kibet Komen, a businessman, is also in the race.

The two are interestingly in opposing coalitions and this will not be the first time they go for the same seat.

Raymond, who is among the front-runners in the race to unseat Raymond Moi, is seeking UDA ticket.

Kibet, on the other hand, is seeking the Jubilee Party flag and has been vocal in efforts to revive the party that was dominant in the county during the 2017 polls.

In 2013, Raymond campaigned for the seat but later pulled out of the race after being appointed to Nakuru government.

In the run-up to the 2017 elections, the two brothers went for the same seat but Raymond stepped down prior to the nominations, handing Kibet an easy chance to clinch the Jubilee Party ticket.

Pursue business

Kibet, however, lost the race to Raymond Moi of Kanu in the elections after garnering 25,219 votes against the winner’s 32,101. 

While the two have never made it to the same ballot, all eyes are on the UDA and Jubilee nominations that will determine whether the siblings will face each other on August 9.

During an interview with The Standard, the two showed no signs of either stepping down for the other even as the seat continues to attract more contenders. 

Kibet, who confirmed his brother is in the race, claims to have received his father’s blessings to seek a political mandate from the electorate and stepping down would be equal to giving up on his birth-right.

“Raymond is trying to force his way in. Our father finished this thing long time ago. He gave me the blessings for political leadership in the family,” said Kibet.

Emgwen MP Alex Kosgey. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

“I was blessed to pursue politics, he was blessed to pursue business. That is the route we should be following. I will vie for the seat on a Jubilee ticket.”

Raymond has however maintained his stance saying that he is the right person to lead Rongai.

“To the best of my knowledge, Kibet is not vying. We are not competing. As far as we are concerned as a family, he is not a candidate,” said Raymond Komen.

He outlined his achievements as the Education and Trade executive as an exciting experience that he wishes to replicate in the constituency.

“During my time as CECM Trade, Nakuru hosted an international investment conference and attracted investments worth billions of shillings.

“As CECM Education, I transformed the sector and had the first batch of ECDE teachers employed by the county,” said Komen.

Joint campaign

While clinching nomination tickets for the UDA and Jubilee parties might be easy for the brothers, winning the August 9 polls will not be a walk in the park.

The seat is currently held by Raymond Moi who was the first MP to be re-elected in the history of the constituency in 2017.

In the North Rift, the Kosgey brothers have not held a joint campaign forum but have exhibited the strongest strategies as they eye different political seats in Nandi County ahead of the August 9 General Election.

Alexander Kosgey, the second term MP for Emgwen in Nandi is now eyeing the Senate while Allan Kosgey, a Nairobi lawyer is eyeing Nandi governor seat currently held by Stephen Sang.

Alex and Allan are sons of Dr Henry Kosgey, former six-time MP for Tinderet and long-serving Cabinet Minister in Kanu and grand coalition regimes. 

They are at the moment racing for Deputy President William Ruto led United Democratic Alliance (UDA) tickets ahead of the April party primaries.

Alex, the youngest, contested Emgwen parliamentary seat for the first time in 2007 but lost at the nomination stage.

In 2013, he was elected on a URP ticket when his father, Henry, then the ODM national chair, lost the Nandi senator race.

Alex got elected for a second term through Jubilee in 2017 while his father lost.  

Last year, his supporters from Kilibwoni, Kapkangani, Chepkumia and Kapsabet wards in Emgwen addressed the media in Kapsabet town declaring their support for his senatorial quest, saying he had fostered unity in Emgwen constituency.

He did not answer our calls nor respond to our messages but had earlier told The Standard that he wants to work with the people of Emgwen independently.

“Even after I lost in 2007, I worked well with the then MP Elijah Lagat and other leaders to address concerns of the electorates,” he said.

During DP Ruto’s tour of Nandi in November, Alex told the crowd: “I have only two requests. A presidential vote for DP Ruto and a vote for me for the Senate.”

And Allan has also made intensive tours of the county marketing his leadership skills.

People-driven initiatives

He has said he is ready to team up with other leaders to tap on the huge potential the county has to bring development through people-driven initiatives.

“I met the residents who requested assistance to construct a collapsed bridge. I told them it was a major project that required the intervention of the county government and I asked them to wait,” said Allan.

During his functions in support of the community, Allan says he is ready to improve the living standards of Nandi residents.   

“We will enhance agribusiness, business enterprises among women and the youth and ensure quality service delivery to residents of Nandi,” said Allan during a function at St Francis Cheptarit Catholic Church in Chesumei constituency.

Allan has also mediated to reconcile his father Henry and businessman David Langat who recently buried the political hatchet that had split their supporters since the 1997 General Election.

“The reconciliation was not political but Biblical. I had moved across the county and found out that the split was hurting development,” said Allan.

Nothing was mentioned about Alex during the reconciliation meeting that bought together Henry and Langat at a function graced by Kapsabet ACK Bishop Paul Korir.