NAIROBI, September 26 – The night turned orange in Bomet and Sotik constituencies after landslide wins for ODM candidates Joyce Laboso and Beatrice Kones in mini-polls there.
In Bomet, Kones of the Orange Democratic Movement garnered 30,210 votes, more than double the ballots cast for her closest contender Nick Salat of KANU who managed 15,015 votes.
In neighbouring Sotik constituency, Laboso won with 23,380 votes, almost 10,000 votes clear of UDM’s Alexander Sitienei, who came in second with 13,843 votes.
“You have done something that no one else expected you to do!” cheered Laboso after her victory was announced early Friday morning. “You have elected me your MP. Thank you for confirming that you still want Lorna’s (Laboso) agenda to be continued in Sotik.”
Laboso was favourite to win the race for the seat that was previously occupied by the late sister Lorna, who perished in an air crash alongside former Minister Kipkalya Kones, whose widow Beatrice took the Bomet spot.
“I am now in a position to effectively address issues of education, agriculture and infrastructure,” raved Kones to her supporters as she acknowledged her victory.
Bomet constituency, which has 80,000 voters had close to a 60 percent turnout.
Voting in both constituencies got off to a slow but peaceful start on Thursday before picking up in the afternoon, commencing at 6am and closing at around 5pm.
“The vote counting in Bomet began shortly after the vote concluded at 5pm amid heavy police presence at the various polling stations and at the Bomet County Hall where returning officers conducted the final tally,” said Capital News reporter George Munyori.
“All the candidates were in attendance during the final vote count at Sotik Primary School,” said Capital News reporter Laban Wanambisi, who observed that the voting went largely without incident.
ODM was widely expected to take back the two parliamentary seats, with the only blot in their hopes being a disputed eviction of squatters in the Mau Forest.
The eviction, which is being championed by Prime Minister and ODM party leader Raila Odinga, had created tensions that threatened to split the party ahead of the mini-polls.
However, ODM still managed to secure clear wins after a peaceful poll and campaign period.