While in other counties candidates are locked in competition, the Woman Representative candidate for Kericho is not worried about competitors.
Beatrice Chepngeno Kemei, who is running on a United Democratic Alliance (UDA) ticket, is the only candidate for the seat, and Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, has confirmed so.
Jackeline Osiemo, the IEBC Returning Officer for Kericho, confirmed that Kemei is the only candidate cleared for the seat.
“Mrs Kemei is the only candidate who came forward and was cleared by the commission to contest,” she said.
Osiemo said besides the clearance certificate issued to Beatrice Kemei, she will send a report to commission headquarters.
“I will file the Form 23 after which the commission will gazette Mrs Kemei as the only candidate for the Woman Representative seat,” she said. Osiemo added that the situation will mean that there would be only five ballot boxes in polling stations instead of six.
During the UDA nominations which attracted six candidates, Kemei garnered 87,182 votes against Florence Bore who got 64,651, Millicent Too who had 28,148, Emily Kirui with 12,509, Beatrice Chirchir with 11,819 and Lucy Ngeny who got 3,536 votes.
No other political party fielded a candidate and there were no independent candidates.
“I thank Kericho residents for believing and rallying behind my candidature during the UDA party nominations. By God’s grace, I have proceeded to be the only candidate for the August General Election and I am so happy,” Kemei, a former teacher at Parklands Arya Girls High School, said.
Kemei first tried her hand at politics during the 2017 General Election. She had contested for the seat through Party of Democracy and Reform (PDR) and got 111,236 votes in an area where Jubilee Party then enjoyed massive support.
Buoyed by the performance, Kemei, who comes from Kakibei in Soin/ Sigowet Constituency, said constant interaction with the electorate, presenting herself as an alternative women leader, paid dividends.
“I kept in touch with the electorate and whenever called upon, I would engage in various socio-economic activities,” she said.
Having been appointed as Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation (REREC) director in 2019, Kemei took advantage of her position to initiate last-mile connectivity in all the six sub-counties of Kericho.
“For instance, in Kapcheplangat village in Kipkelion East constituency, I initiated electricity connectivity to over 1,000 families. Other areas are Bureti, Soin/Sigowet, Belgut, and Kipkelion West,” she said.
The Kericho County Municipal Board member is also responsible for the facelift of Kericho’s Moi Gardens.
Kemei, popularly known as Chebabai (The Happy One) also won the hearts of voters by constructing houses for the underprivileged.
“In Momoniat village, I was informed of a needy case of a jigger-infested widow who didn’t have a house. I got her medical help for the jigger infestations and constructed a house for her family,” she said.
Kemei also focused on youth empowerment whereby she gave the Bagao Youth group in Ainamoi Constituency Sh20,000 for the establishment of tea nurseries.
Besides the mentioned projects, she regularly contributed to various fundraising events across the county.
Kemei says she will be accountable for the utilisation of the National Government Affirmative Action Fund.
“We will also streamline the procurement process which has all along been shrouded in secrecy,” she said.
She assured Small and Medium Enterprises owners that she will work with the county government to create a good environment for enterprise development and for businesses to thrive.
Kemei also assured Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) that her office will not only give them the necessary support to live a normal life but also facilitate them to contribute to the development of the county.
Her manifesto includes a plan for the girl child mentorship and support initiatives.
“We have an elaborate plan for women and youth empowerment. My office will provide financial and other support for organised groups and individuals,” she said.
At the village level, Kemei is a founder of the member of Chamiet Group known for spearheading the welfare of women and the needy.
She has been a member and an official of several women groups including the Social Economic Empowerment Women Organisation (SEEWO).
She has also been a Sunday school teacher and later a leader in Christian unions and churches.
Mrs Kemei undertook her primary and secondary education in local schools within Bureti before joining Kenyatta University for a degree in Education Arts.
She proceeded to the same university for a master’s in Environmental Planning and Management.
She taught in high schools in Kericho and later Nairobi before joining NSSF as a compliance officer.