Energy CS and the immediate Kericho senator Hon Charles Keter is nursing political injuries suffered from friendly fire in the just concluded Jubilee party nominations in which his favourite and preferred candidate Sammy Chepkwony lost.
The Kericho nominations provided a rare opportunity in which the two close friends Energy CS Hon Keter and DP William Ruto were in opposite camps. Whereas Hon Keter gave all his total best including ground networks and financial support to businessman Sammy Chepkwony the Deputy President silently channelled his support to the 29 year old former Moi University student leader Aaron Cheruyiot.
Hon Keter had to cut short his stay in the Hague where he had accompanied DP Ruto for a no case to answer hearing in the ICC to come and campaign for his pet project Sammy Chepkwony. DP Ruto through business magnate Mr Mburu (Bahati, Nakuru) and ground strategists Steve Kewa, Kiborek Reuben and Nixon sponsored the youthful Cheruyiot- the eventual winner.
A former Moi University student leader Aaron Cheruyiot (class of 2010) won the nominations with 17,565 votes while Chepkwony came in second with slightly over 17000 votes.
Hon Keter was not keen to support Aaron Cheruyiot for what now insiders say was a family relations issue, Aaron is a nephew to the Minister and therefore was only logical for him to support a different candidate for fear of balkanizing the voters. Sammy Chepkwony is also a close ally of the DP, however it now emerges that Ruto may have relied much on direct local intelligence briefs that indicated Chepkwony was a light weight.
Former ODM cabinet minister Franklin Bett and immediate former ODM Executive Director Magerer Langat came third and fourth respectively with less than 15,000 votes.
Cheruyiot, a travel-entrepreneur, was the youngest among the candidates and will now face KANU’ Paul Sang. ODM has not yet indicated their candidate, so is Bomet Governor Isaac Rutto’s Mashinani Development Party.
Cheruyiot win confirms DP Ruto’s pro youth agenda, his party URP has the highest number of youthful MPs and senators in the parliament most of whom had little means other than sheer determination.
The Kipsigis reluctance to join Jubilee Party may have kept voters away. There is an open suspicion among the Kalenjins especially towards the president’s TNA arm of Jubilee coalition and if indeed the Mt Kenya block will fully support DP Ruto come 2022.