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Battle for West Pokot County senate seat hots up

By - | October 31st 2012

By Daniel Psirmoi

Individual track record, development record and ability to read the mood are just part of the factors that are likely to influence politics in West Pokot County although of late external factors have come to play to try and sway the thinking of the people.

The battle for the Senate has attracted political heavyweights, Information and Communication Minister Samuel Losuron Poghisio, former Public Works Permanent Secretary, Professor John Krop Lonyangapuo and Kapenguria MP Rev Julius Murgor who is also an Assistant Minister for Environment.

Minister Poghisio, who was elected on an ODM-Kenya party, has a strong support of the Eldoret North MP William Samoei Ruto who he has accompanied on meetings severally, in the larger Pokot County. The minister was in the news last week, when he was officially ‘handed over’ to URP by his party boss and VP Kalonzo Musyoka.

On the other hand Murgor has the support of Prime Minister Raila Odinga. Odinga has used Rev

Murgor to run several errands for him, in North Rift area a clear indication, that the cleric is his point man in the county.

The PM has also visited Pokot area several times both in political mission and development citing the on going construction of the Cement factory in Ortum area.

And because of the potentiality to overturn the region economic fortunes, the construction of the

14 billion cement factory by the Indian Cement giant conglomerate, the Cemtech Sanghi, has become the major focus of attention by those seeking power.

Multiple sources who spoke to County Weekly ,associate the multi billion project that is  expected to create of 10,000 jobs directs and uplift local lifestyles through the company’s ambitious corporate social responsibility programme with the former PS.

Prof Lonyangapou, who was the PS of Industrialization when the company sought numerous clearances believed to have single handedly lobbied for the project, which has failed to take off.

Rev Murgor is also said to have separately lobbied for the construction of the Cement factory in Sebit area, near Ortum center.

It’s not known which role Minister Poghisio played if any, but suffice is to say, that he was a conspicuous absentee during the project ground breaking ceremony presided over by Raila.

Lonyangapou and the immediate former Principal of Ortum Secondary School Simon Kachapin who is running for the governor seems to have won the hearts of the people.

Elite members

Prof Lonyangapuo has the backing of the elite members of the Pokot community including a majority of university students. The mathematics professor helped many students from the community join university and in some instances acted as a guarantor for those who failed to pay school fees in time when he was a former principal of  the then Moi University Chepkoilel  Campus University now Chepkoilel University College.

Prof who is also the chairman of Kabarak University recently announced that he will vie for the senate seat on a KANU ticket.

The soft spoken, Kachapin is credited of improving the performance of Ortum Secondary School which is currently the Center of Excellency in West Pokot County.

He has also been the chairman of Pokot Catholic schools in the area where he commands a lot of respect from the teaching fraternity.

Evans Krop, a youth leader in the county, contends that Rev. Murgor will give the former PS a run for his money for the seat of the Senator and should not be ruled out.

 The MP has a knack for development as witnessed in the numerous water projects and boreholes he initiated fund raising from the church friends abroad. Murgor has done projects not only in his Kapenguria constituency, but his presence has been felt almost in every corner of Pokot county through the water projects.

Other political seats for the three constituencies include, Kapenguria and Kacheliba which has attracted both new and old faces.

A former assistant minister Samuel Moroto is set to reclaim his Kapenguria seat. He will face stiff opposition from Charles Chedotum, a former principal of Chewoyet secondary school. Moroto went first to parliament after the death of the late Cabinet Minister Francis Lotodo, before he was appointed Assistant Minister in the office of President.

Also on the track to recapture his seat is a former Sigor MP Philip Rotino, who lost the seat in the last general election to William Litole.

With the exit of Poghisio from Kacheliba constituency, the door is now wide open to controversial cleric, Rev John Londinyo of Kiwawa parish. He has previously stood against the minister without much success.

Lodinyo is expected to get stiff competition from elite Michael Kimpur who has worked in the USA for long. Kimpur is also said to have a very good network on the ground.

There is also still talk that Minister Poghisio is trying to groom somebody for the seat.

The governor seat has also attracted a former personal assistant of Rev Murgor, Hezron Ripko,  Former Mayor Jacob Samuli and East Africa Community MP Augustine Lotodo.

The women representative in Pokot County has so far has attracted a record of 7 candidates, with Rhoda Rotino, a Maendeleo ya Wanawake official in the area, who vied for the Kapenguria seat in the last election and an Anti- FGM crusader Leah Chebitwei being the front runners.  

Leah has also rescued over 600 girls from forced marriages through her Kamanat CBO based in Makutano.

Others who have shown interest include Chepareria business lady Teresa Lokuchu, a onetime clerk to Pokot county council Lillian Plapan, Kevina Loyatum, Regina Nyeris, Josephine Lokai and a sister to the late powerful minister Francis Lotodo , Julia Lotodo Loburon.

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