Aspirants rush to pick running mates to beat midnight deadline

Azimio La Umoja flag bearer Raila Odinga accompanied by West Pokot County Governor John Lonyangapuo in West Pokot on April 2, 2022.[Emmanuel Wanson, Standard]

Aspirants for the governor’s seat in the North Rift were in a last-minute rush to pick their running mates ahead of the Monday deadline.

Nominees were picked to balance political dynamics including gender, community representation and age.

In Nandi, Governor Stephen Sang, who is seeking a second term, retained his deputy Dr Yulitah Mitei, saying she has remained loyal.

“My political detractors and the State machinery were deployed into my government, but she stood firm against all attempts of sabotage and plot to kick me out of office,” he said.

Dr Mitei has been championing for gender issues, including girl child rights and women empowerment programmes.

She holds a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Botswana and Master’s degree in Chemistry from Kenyatta University.

The 49-year-old, who was a senior lecturer at the University of Eldoret, lost in the Jubilee Party nominations for the governor’s seat in 2017.

“I am glad to have worked harmoniously with Governor Sang and we have made tremendous development. We are looking forward to being elected for the second term based on our scorecard,” she said.

In West Pokot, Governor John Lonyangapuo on Monday night named Simon Kodomuk as his running mate.

Mr Kodomuk, 60, has served in Prof Lonyangapuo’s administration in various departments as a chief officer. He holds a Master’s degree in linguistics.

The governor fell out with his deputy Nicholas Atudonyang, who has been living in the US.

After ditching Kanu, Prof Lonyangapuo unveiled his own party KUP, which he will be using to defend his seat.

Transform county

His deputy, who jetted back into the country about two months ago, will now compete with his boss as Kanu flag bearer.

Former West Pokot first governor Simon Kachapin will also seek to recapture his seat after winning the UDA nominations.

In Nandi, former governor Cleophas Lagat on Monday evening also named former Chesumei MP Elijah Lagat as his running mate. Dr Lagat is in the race as an independent after losing the in UDA nominations.

In Elgeyo Marakwet, Deputy Governor Wisley Rotich of UDA named Prof Grace Cheserek as his deputy nominee.

Prof Cheserek, a former lecturer at the Moi University, comes from Marakwet West while Mr Rotich is from Keiyo North.

“In the quest to transform our county through the bottom up model, I will need a team of highly qualified and competent ladies and gentlemen to steer our County to the next level,” said Mr Rotich.

And the former Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya. who is running for the Trans Nzoia governor position on a DAP-K ticket, last week nominated banker Philomena Kapkor as his running mate.

His Kenya Kwanza rival, Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa, has picked former high school principal Bethwel Kirior.