NAIROBI, September 24 – The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) candidates in Sotik and Bomet have expressed confidence that they will clinch the parliamentary seats in Thursdays by-elections.
Bomet candidate Beatrice Kones on Wednesday said she had done aggressive campaigns to marshal votes ahead of the polls.
“We concluded our campaigns on Tuesday and we are going for a landslide victory,” said told Capital News in an interview.
Mrs Kones is to face off with former Bomet Member of Parliament Nick Salat of Kanu, who she said had no chance of reclaiming the seat.
“There is still the ODM wave in Rift valley and Kanu is no longer considered a threat, the party is dead,” she said.
Mr Joseph Koech (UDM), Mr Stephen Koske (Narc-K), Mr Samuel Maina (UDPI) and Mr Daniel Kerich (UDP) are also in the race for the Bomet seat.
In Sotik, Dr Joyce Laboso of ODM said she was confident she would clinch the seat previously held by her sister Lorna Laboso who died in a plane crash in June together with former Roads Minister Kipkalya Kones.
“Of course we cannot underestimate our opponents but I am sure I will be elected to continue with the work Lorna started.” said Dr Laboso.
Her biggest challenge will come from retired Brigadier Alexander Sitienei of UDM, who enjoys the support of some ODM MPs led by Chepalungu lawmaker Isaac Ruto. Mr Sitienei participated in the ODM primaries but got just 2,708 votes against Dr Laboso’s 17,045.
The Sotik seat has attracted 12 aspirants, six of whom are women.
They include Mrs Eunice Korir (Kanu), Dr Alice Ngok (DP), Ms Eunice Chebet (PNU), Ms Beatrice Chepkemoi (Ford-P) and Ms Gladys Koskey (MDA).
Others are Mr Wesley Maritim (Narc -K), Mr Rogers Ngotwa (UDPI), Mr Ernest Kosgey (KADDU), Mr Joseph Korir (CCM) and Mr Joseph Cheruiyot (ODM-K).
Sotik has 64,727 voters and 145 polling stations while neighbouring Bomet constituency has 80,753 registered voters and 151 polling stations.
Polling centres are expected to open at 6am Thursday and close at 5pm. Issues that may decide the election are the Mau Forest land tussle and the controversy over Cabinet posts, party affiliation. Party popularity will also be crucial.