KERICHO, Kenya, Mar 8 – Echoes of 2002 when KANU – under the leadership of the then President Daniel Arap Moi – lost power were heard in Kericho on Monday night when the supporters of Jubilee Alliance Party (JAP), celebrating the victory of Aaron Cheruiyot started chanting, “Yote Yawezakana bila Moi.”
Though the victory belonged to Cheruiyot and the party sponsoring him, many saw it as a victory for the Deputy President William Ruto who has been entangled in a supremacy battle between him and Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto and KANU Chairman Gideon Moi.
“Kericho does not belong to an individual,” they would be heard saying.
Others would sing songs praising the leadership of,” William Ruto. He is our leader and we love him.”
After more than a decade in the political cold, the ‘Jogoo’ (cockerel) failed to crow back to life again.
After a period of gruesome campaigns, Cheruiyot is the senator- elect for Kericho County having garnered 109, 358 votes in Monday’s by-election beating four other candidates.
The Jubilee Alliance Party candidate was followed at a distance by KANU’s Kipkorir Arap Sang who got 56, 307 votes.
Though Cheruiyot is set to be given his certificate on Tuesday morning, the provisional results were welcomed in celebrations by supporters of JAP, who patiently waited as results trickled in.
Cheruiyot on his part challenged his competitors to respect the will of the people after KANU challenged the outcome citing malpractices during the exercise.
“I am the choice of the people,” he said. “It was a tough battle and a winner has emerged. I expect them to be gallant gentlemen and to believe in tenets of democracy and support the Jubilee victor.”
He, however, dismissed claims that the process was marred by irregularities saying, “You cannot mention KANU and Democracy in one sentence.”
Jubilee heavyweights who accompanied him to the county polling centre led by Senate Leader of Majority Kindiki Kithure, CS Energy Charles Keter (whose appointment to the Cabinet occasioned the by-election) and Senator Kipchumba Murkomen say the win will strengthen the Jubilee coalition further.
“Those of us who stand for the unity of the community and united country have stood with JAP and Aaron,” Senator Murkomen said.
“Those who wanted to balkanize Rift Valley into the North and South and into Kalenjin versus Kenya have failed. It was a fight pitting political dynasty against William Ruto.”
He cautioned his competitors to join the Jubilee coalition for their political survival.