With governor Paul Chepkwony serving his last term in office, Kericho county has joined the list of counties set to host heated gubernatorial contests in the fast-approaching 2022 general elections as more political heavyweights within the county toss themselves into the already heated battle.
Those eying the powerful seat include area senator Aaron Cheruiyot, Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter, popular Engineer and former Kenya Ports Authority(KPA) director Fred Kirui and renowned scholar Dr Erick Mutai.
Speculations claim that veteran politician and former Kipkelion West MP Magerer Lang’at might also contest for the seat but the troubled politician is yet to officially declare his bid.
However, the real wrestle and match will be between Senator Aaron Cheruiyot and Charles Keter since the influence and political supremacy of the two political figures cannot be compared to any of the candidates who have already presented themselves into the ring. Keter who previously served as the Member of Parliament was unanimously elected to the Senate In 2013 before being appointed to President Kenyatta’s Cabinet in 2015.
The heated Kericho county by-election to replace the CS later in 2016 saw the youthful Cheruiyot trounce over powerful political moguls including former Ministers Paul Sang, Franklin Bett, Sammy Kirui and Magerer Lang’at to be elected the youngest Senator in Kenya.
He was reelected by a landslide in 2017 and there is no doubt that he still controls the votes of the youthful generation in Kericho.
The two are close associates of the self-proclaimed Rift Valley political kingpin and Deputy President William Ruto and this means that with the Senator spearheading the registration of new members for the newly formed UDA party, the two elephantines will be banking on the party’s ticket to take over the county government of Kericho.
This also gives the Kericho residents a hard time in making their choice since the two who have more authenticated reports claim that they are from the same extended family hail from the same Belgut constituency and are loved and hated in almost equal measures.
All these factors and the fact that Kenyan politics and especially in all parts of the Rift Valley are always open, predictable and with zero codes mean that the candidate who will have the best political strategies, the sweetest words and the biggest number of words at the party’s nomination will carry the day and automatically be confirmed the next governor for the green county.
Although insider sources privy to this writer say that the UDA party shapers are at a climax of mediation to settle on one of them, political temperatures have continued to escalate across all the political forums in Kericho as supporters from the two sides engage in hot debates.
In the event that the two political giants and frontrunners decide to flex muscles, well-oiled campaigns, endless campaign trails and political fireworks will soon be taking over Kericho as Aaron Cheruiyot and Charles engage in a distinction war to succeed Prof Chepkwony. The other aspirants in my own opinion will nevertheless be playing their crucial roles of setting the pace.