• MP Mishra is defending his seat as an independent in Uasin Gishu, which is DP William Ruto’s home county, perceived UDA strong hold.
• Ruto allies led by Governor Jackson Mandago have teamed up to campaign for six-piece voting for UDA candidates in August polls.
Kesses MP Dr Swarup Mishra has defended his decision to vie as an independent, saying Kenyans are keen on quality leadership, not personalities or parties.
Dr Mishra is defending his seat as an independent in Uasin Gishu, which is DP William Ruto’s home county and a perceived UDA stronghold.
DP Ruto allies in the region, led by Governor Jackson Mandago, are campaigning for six-piece voting for UDA candidates in the August 9 general election.
“Kenyans will vote for quality and productive leadership and not suits that cannot fit everyone," Dr Mishra said.
Speaking during a youth sports event at the Sports Club in his constituency, Dr Mishra said his productive work as an MP was evident. He said he planned to create more jobs and empower the youth, women and and other groups.
Dr Mishra, who had won the Jubilee ticket for Kesses, urged all candidates to help keep peace and unity before, during and after the polls.
“Politics is not enmity. We are just looking for the next crop of leaders and after elections life will go on," Mishra said.
He is among more than 60 independent in the region who will be battling UDA men and women.
Mishra is the owner of Mediheal hospitals.
DP Ruto is expected to campaign in the region this week and he likely to promote the six-piece voting pattern in favour of his party.
Meanwhile Ainabkoi MP William Chepkut, who is also defending his seat as an independent, has asked residents of and candidates to be tolerant and avoid violence while campaigning.
At least 10 people were injured after two factions clashed on Tuesday evening at a rally in Tendwo trading centre, Ainabkoi, in Uasin Gishu county.
Kenya Kwanza supporters are said to have roughed up supporters who were waving Chepkut’s posters, descending upon them with wooden batons.
Resident Kibiwott Kiplagat said the entourage in a convoy of vehicles had just arrived at the centre, when when rivals attacked them without provocation.
“We all support different aspirants and as locals we do not have differences amongst ourselves. But it was shocking when the convoy arrived here. Those in the vehicles alighted and started beating us as they tore down all campaign posters," he said.
Resident Gideon Kipchumba said the county has been identified as a violence hotspot and the beatings they received gives credence to that classification.
“We are now beginning to see violence being unleashed on perceived supporters of certain politicians. As we enter charged campaigns, we urge security officers and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to be vigilant and address emerging trends of violence,” he said.
Kipchumba said the violence was a form of intimidation to ensure the region votes six-piece, which he called an affront to democracy.
“We should not tolerate such hooliganism in our politics. That is retrogressive and unacceptable,” Chepkut said.
However, Uasin Gishu UDA coordinator Paul Kiprop said no one has complained about the Tuesday evening incident and he declined to comment further.
Uasin Gishu county commissioner Stephen Kihara directed chiefs to hold regular public meetings as part of election education and monitoring to assure pre-poll peace.
Kihara says the meetings will enable residents to ventilate their fears and complaints.
“Although political leaders are allowed to participate, the meetings are not for supporting anyone but maintaining peace and security,”Kihara said.
(Edited by V. Graham)