On saturday 27th February, I took the day to travel to Kericho County and give moral support on behalf of The Fire Place to my friend Aaron Cheruiyot who is running for the Kericho County Senatorial seat that was left vacant after the appointment of Charles Keter into Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Energy.
This particular political duel has been characterized by intrigues and close to protest to the system yet it would have been easy to recapture the seat knowing that Rift Valley voted to a man for the Jubilee administration by the mere fact that one of their own, Hon. William Ruto is the deputy President of the Republic of Kenya. However the internal politics of the expansive rift valley have proved to haunt the same system that they voted for overwhelmingly.
Seven rallies were covered in a meticulous manner. Others joining were the Deputy President and over 20 MP's including former legislators from different parts of the country. Others included the Governor for Kericho and Nandi and Senators from other counties in the Rift Valley. This is the kind of support one would assume is needed in politics to propel one to a mere political celebrity on the part of the 30 year old Aaron Cheruiyot. However something interesting has happened that has forced the Deputy President to ensure he does everything politically possible to convince the Kericho electorate to vote for the Jubilee Candidate.
|The DP Arrives at a Rally in Gatarwet with Contender Aaron Cheruiyot on Saturday|
The seven rallies were held in the following locations in the expansive county on Saturday 27th Feb:-
6. Sigawet and
7. Soko Huru
During this campaign I learned a few lessons that I share in this article. It was an eye opener on what it takes to do political mobilization. The process is not easy. One has to work hard to crack the numbers. Once you declare, you become instant and constant property of the public and your private life becomes a public book. This has been the experience for my young friend Aaron.
|Aaron Cheruiyot making his case at the Rally|
I also learned that the people are not stupid. When they elect you once, they expect you to deliver on the promises you make. Never allow outsiders to join you and give unfounded promises just to lure voters to your side.
Never say things blindly without thinking of the consequences of your speeches. The people have a long memory. When they realize you have been playing them, on your next bid, they can hold you hostage or even dump you however positive intentions you may have for them.
Times have changed when the electorate were naive and clueless, with education, free media, new media and all the technological advances, your plan, promises and if you use lies, will spread fast, and will be documented for future reference to hold you accountable.
I learnt that in politics it is a factor of the now and not then. Politicians can promise all they want but today's voter does not forget. The terrain is changing so fast and that naive electorate we knew is gone.
Any one running for office in future will need money, honesty and hard work to retain the seat.
That is what the people of Kericho are doing. They reminded the Deputy President that they haven't seen actions out of words that were promised in 2012. The DP has had to camp in the county, at some point to even apologize to the voters for delayed gratification based on campaign promises.
|Some of the guests including Emmanuel Dennis and Charles Keter|
If Aaron loses the Kericho seat, it will not be because he is a bad choice, in fact he is the best choice for the people of Kericho, but it will be a protest to the government for not delivering on its promises. If the people of Kericho choose Aaron for their next senator, they will not only have given the youth of Kenya a vote of confidence, it will also be a verdict that the youth can be trusted but also being tested on their maturity to lead. That maturity must come with accountability. Accountability not only on paper but in transforming our communities to reflect the development of the 21st century.
The choice is out there for the people of Kericho County.
Which brings me to my next point on the stupidity that comes with political choices. Should the people choose the wrong candidate just to protest the system or should the people make their choices based on the fact of the ability of the candidate? Why should the best candidate lose just because of protest to the system. What are the consequences of choosing a protest candidate at the expense of political protest? I will pen more upon the conclusion of the plebiscite in Kericho on Monday next week.
Photos Courtesy of Brian Emmanuel Inganga