- Mbatiany was gender advisor in the office of the governor during Lusaka's term as Bungoma's first county chief.
- She is a founding pastor of the Lord is My Saviour Ministry Church in Chemses, Mt Elgon constituency.
Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka has named gender activist Janepher Chemtai Mbatiany as his running mate in the Bungoma governor race.
Mbatiany hails from Mt Elgon constituency and is from the minority Sabaot community.
She was gender advisor in the 0ffice of the governor during Lusaka's term as county chief.
Mbatiany is holder of a Bachelor of Arts in Gender, Women and Development Studies and also a founding pastor of the Lord is My Saviour Ministry Church in Chemses, Mt Elgon. She also has a degree in Theology.
Speaking during the unveiling ceremony at Ken Lusaka Command Centre in Kanduyi on Wednesday, the Speaker said he sought the opinion of key leaders before settling on Mbatiany.
“Janepher is a fearless fighter for gender equity, one of the county’s finest peace advocates, an astute public defender, a pastor and a woman of God,” he said.
Webuye West MP Dan Wanyama, Bungoma county assembly Majority Leader Joseph Nyongesa and a host of other Kenya Kwanza allied leaders and aspirants were present at the unveiling.
Mbatiany said her nomination is a win not only for the women of her marginalised community but the county as a whole.
“I will be faithful and support you in the campaigns and in all your endeavours,” she said.
Lusaka ditched the ruling Jubilee party in February and returned to Ford-Kenya.
This was after he reconciled with Ford Kenya leader and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula.
Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati who was elected on Ford Kenya ticket severed ties with Wetangula and joined the Democratic Action Party-Kenya, associated with Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa.
In 2017 polls, Wangamati won the seat after garnering 197,422 votes while Lusaka, who ran on Jubilee came second with 175,929 votes.
Wetangula joined forces with Deputy President William Ruto in January and formed the Kenya Kwanza Alliance which also comprises Amani National Congress of Musalia Mudavadi.
The trio has in the recent past intensified their campaigns popularising their coalition in Western Kenya.
Lusaka said he strives to balance the leadership dynamics in Mt Elgon by ensuring that here is regional representation.
The Bukusu sub-tribe of the Luhya is the dominant community in Bungoma.
“With the naming of the deputy governor, the Kenya Kwanza team will free the residents of Bungoma from the bondage of bad leadership so we should hit the ground running,” Wanyama said.
Nyongesa said he fully supported Lusaka’s pick.
“Mama Mbatiany is more than equal to the task. With her networks and connections in the women movement and the church, the Kenya Kwanza team will be victorious on August 9,” he said.
(Edited by Tabnacha O)