Family rivalry and the supremacy battle between Deputy President William Ruto and his ally-turned-foe Governor Isaac Ruto will dominate the fight for National Assembly seats in Bomet.
In Bomet East constituency, former assistant Minister Beatrice Kones will be battling with her son Kipng’etich Kones, while Woman Rep Cecilia Ng’etich will be squaring it out with her husband Stephen Ng’etich in Sotik.
Mrs Kones will be challenging the incumbent Benard Bett on the Jubilee ticket while her son is angling for Governor Ruto’s Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) ticket.
From independence to 2013, save for the short tenure of Mr Joseph Chumo, Bomet Constituency leadership oscillated between two families: that of Isaac Kipkorir Salat and that of Kipkalia Kones.
Mr Salat, an ally of former President Daniel arap Moi, died in 1987 then Mr Kones succeeded him in the 1988 General Election until 2002 when Salat’s eldest son – Nick Salat, now Kanu secretary-general ousted him.
Kones bounced back in 2007 on an ODM ticket, but died in a plane crash in Enoosupukia, Narok County, in 2008 and his wife Beatrice was elected in the by-election.
In the 2013 elections, by which time the larger Bomet had been split into Bomet East and Bomet Central, Ms Kones lost to newcomer Mr Bett. The latter hopes to be re-elected on account of building schools and roads, while his critics accuse him of being out of touch with his constituents.
His supporters praise him for fair distribution of education bursaries, which have helped many needy children.
But Mrs Kones says as the MP for the larger Bomet, she implemented many development projects.
The former MP says she was instrumental in the setting up of schools, technical institutes and hospitals, including the iconic Longisa Medical Training Centre.
Mrs Kones, Mr Bett and Ms Rose Kositany will be facing it out in the Jubilee Party primary, while her son will be fighting for the CCM ticket with Ms Janet Chepkirui.
Were mother and son to clinch their respective party tickets, the August 8 polls will witness one of the most dramatic contests in history.
In Sotik, Mrs Ng’etich will be fighting for the Jubilee ticket, while her husband will run on the Kanu ticket. Again, if the two go all the way, the race will be one to behold.
The incumbent Joyce Laboso will run for Bomet governor’s seat now held by Mr Ruto of CCM.
Other candidates eyeing the seat on the Jubilee ticket are former Nairobi Provincial Commissioner Francis Sigei, former South Rift regional IEBC coordinator Stephen Ng’eno, Kapletundo ward MCA Bernard Ng’eno, local businessman Paul Pakamu Mutai and an engineer, Mr Dominic Koske.
Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers Bomet branch executive secretary Paul Kimeto is also eyeing the Sotik seat on a CCM ticket.
Dr Laboso was elected Sotik MP in a by-election in 2008 on an ODM ticket to replace her younger sister Lorna Laboso who died in a plane crash.
Dr Laboso was re-elected Sotik MP on a URP ticket in the 2013 General Election.
In Bomet Central, many contestants both male and female, have come out to challenge the incumbent Ronald Tonui, considered the front-runner.
Mr Tonui says he has completed a number of projects in the constituency, adding that he has utilised the Constituency Development Fund allocation well in all the five wards. He believes this fair distribution of resources will give him an edge in the coming elections. Other hopefuls for the seat are Richard Kilel, a former public servant who will be battling with the incumbent for the Jubilee ticket in the party nominations alongside Ms Evelyn Langat. Mr Gilbert Rono, Mr Stanley Soi and Mr Wesley Sigei are eyeing the seat on a CCM party.
In Konoin, the incumbent Sammy Koech will face perennial political nemesis and Moi-era assistant minister Raphael Kitur, the current speaker of the county assembly Kipng’etich Korir and six others.
Mr Koech lists a number of development projects he has implemented since he was first elected in 2007. He names roads, schools, water and health centres as some of his key achievements.
Mr Kitur was elected in 1997 after defeating Mr Nathaniel Chebelyon, the first MP for Konoin, which was hived off the larger Bomet constituency.
Mr Kitur says: “It is the call of the people who remember my good work as MP which makes me stand again.” He hopes to run on the Jubilee ticket.
Mr Korir, the outgoing assembly speaker, banks on his rulings, which he says have won the hearts of many in Konoin because of his push for accountability.
Other aspirants are Cosmas Korir and former Lands and Urban Planning minister in Governor Ruto’s administration, Mrs Elizabeth Langat. The two will both face off in the CCM nominations.
As in the other four constituencies, the race for Chepalungu has attracted aspirants in Jubilee and CCM.
The incumbent MP, Mr Paul Savimbi Bii, exudes confidence , citing his development record.
“I have distributed CDF funds evenly in the constituency and no single area has been marginalised,” he told the Nation.
The legislator will be battling it out with Anderson Kirui, Pius Sigei, Joseah Samoei, Bernard Koros, Alexander Ng’eno and Mastamet Bunei in the Jubilee party nominations. The winner will fight it out with either Victor Koech or Gideon Koskey of CCM.