A 26-year-old lecturer is causing a stir in Turbo as she seeks to become the first woman to represent the constituency that is home to Deputy President William Ruto.
Ms Chemutai Kurgat, a lecturer at Moi University, is however, joining an already crowded field of men who are all also eying the seat in one of the most populous constituencies in Uasin Gishu.
The seat has attracted more than 20 aspirants vying on various political parties, with those seeking the Jubilee Party ticket at 18 so far.
But Ms Kurgat, a Political Science graduate from Moi University, hopes to win youth to her side.
In a chat with the Nation, she paints a picture of a young and determined woman, who is willing to go against the grain to be elected MP.
Turbo has more than 100,000 registered voters and is set to have one of the most hotly-contested parliamentary seats in the county.
“I have decided to offer an alternative kind of leadership to the people; that of being people-centred and priority-based,” says the outspoken aspirant.
Top of her agenda, if elected to office, is to empower the youth and women.
“The youth have innovative and great ideas but what they lack is capacity building and the right information to put them into practice,” noted Ms Kurgat, who is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in International Relations at the University of Nairobi.
Popularly referred by her supporters as Chebaibai (the happy one) or iron lady, she laments that the current crop of leaders have not articulated youth’s issues as required.
The aspirant says she has in the past assisted fellow youth to come up with business ideas and companies in order to take advantage of the government tenders.
The former university student leader also pledges to transform the Constituency Development Fund into a Bursary Fund for all the wards to increase the number of beneficiaries.
“Service to the community is a calling like that of a preacher. It should not mean that people should choose when they have retired,” she says on why she chose politics over public service.
Ms Kurgat hopes to join the league of the likes of the fiery 24-year-old Hlomela Bucwa, the youngest South African MP.
The battle for the parliamentary seat is shaping up as a tough contest between the old and the young.
She is one of the youngest female aspirants in the region. The seat is currently held by first-time MP Elisha Busienei.
Mr Busienei exudes confidence that he will be re-elected, pointing to his development record.
“I think I have done well especially in the education sector by utilising well the CDF money. I have been able to upgrade primary and secondary schools, some mud-walled boarding schools in the last four years,” he said.
The lawmaker added that he used the CDF cash to empower several young people to gain skills.
“We have been able to sponsor 720 youth from six wards to pursue driving courses and 30 young women to study salon courses. This financial year, we are taking 30 young people from all the wards to study catering,” said Mr Busienei, a one-time councillor in the defunct Eldoret Municipal Council.
Other aspirants include Joseph Kurgat, Janet Rotich, Isaac Maiyo and businessmen Julius Kitur and Kevin Okwara.
Mr Kitur said that he wants to drive the developmental agenda of the constituency.
“I want to push for the creation of more industries like fertiliser and tomato processing plants. I will also champion for a number of bills at the national level,” he notes.
Mr Okwara, an entrepreneur said that he wants to champion for the interests of the business community.
Turbo and Soy constituencies were hived off from former Eldoret North.
Mr Ruto held the Eldoret North seat from 1997 till 2013 before he was elected to the office together with President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2013.
Although Mr Ruto has kept off the area’s politics, pundits opine that endorsement by the DP is likely to either work for or against the contestants.