Three-horse race for governorship shaping up in Nandi

Sang faces tough re-election battle against his predecessor, Henry Kosgey son

In Summary
  • All the three who are allies of DP William Ruto will be battling for the UDA ticket
  • Allan— son to former minister Henry Kosgey—and Lagat have stepped up their grassroot activities in the county.
Lawyer Allan Kosgey with residents of Nandi Hills on July 5
Lawyer Allan Kosgey with residents of Nandi Hills on July 5

A three-horse race for the governor's seat in next year's elections is already shaping up in Nandi county.

Incumbent Stephen Sang faces a tough re-election battle against his predecessor Cleophas Lagat and lawyer Allan Kosgey who have declared interest in the post.

All the three, who are allies of DP William Ruto, will be battling for the UDA ticket. With about 12 months to the general election, Allan— son of former Cabinet Minister Henry Kosgey— and Lagat have stepped up their grassroots activities.

MPs and MCAs in the county have also taken sides in the race, although they are yet to publicly endorse any aspirants.

Allan has been seen at separate functions with Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter and Aldai legislator Cornelly Serem.

He is courting the MPs to back his bid, though they too will be facing re-election battles in their constituencies.

The lawyer has been holding meetings and attending public events to strategise for the expected bruising governor post battle.

“We are talking to the people at various forums as we chart the way forward in regard to Nandi leadership,” said Allan.

He says his intention is to offer issue and work-based type of leadership in the county, unlike the past where politicking took centre stage at the expense of development.

But the entry of Lagat could complicate the race considering the residents say they want to have an experienced, accessible and mature leader to head the county.

Lagat, nicknamed 'Chematel', lost to Sang in the last elections but has returned to the political scene promising to reclaim his seat.

All the six MPs in the county have been critical of Sang, accusing him of playing lone ranger politics.

They also accuse Sang’s administration of mismanaging the county, saying most of county allocation is spent on a bloated workforce and that graft had derailed most development programmes.

Senator Samson Cherargei says the governor has nothing to show for the four years he has been in office.

“If anything, Nandi is in a worse state than where he found it. Most projects have stalled and residents are not enjoying any benefits of devolution because of corruption,” he  said.

But Sang, who will be defending his seat, is upbeat that his record speaks for itself.

“For those who deliberately do not want to see what we have done, it’s their choice. Most of the projects we initiated and completed are visible. We will be commissioning many more in the coming days,” he added. 

Nandi county, which is DP Ruto's stronghold, has a population of more than 900,000 people and covers an area of about 2,855 square kilometres.

The Nandi are the most populous community there, but it has about 30 per cent residents from the Luhya community. Others include Luos and Kisii working for the multi-national tea firms in the region.

Agriculture, especially tea, sugar cane and maize production are the main economic activities in the region.

Ruto’s influence, land matters, performance of the county government are some of the general factors that will influence the choice of governor in the region.

Throughout the last four years, Nandi has witnessed a rivalry between leaders in the region, with the governor not seeing eye-to-eye with his senator. The MPs also accuse his administration of graft.

-Edited by SKanyara