Athletes-turned-politicians lose the race for party tickets
Athletes in the North Rift failed the Jubilee nominations test in their race for various elective posts. None of the athletes managed a win in the primaries.
Among those who were floored was former Marathon world record holder and 2017 Tokyo Marathon winner Wilson Kipsang who was making his first attempt in politics.
He was beaten in the Keiyo South parliamentary race by businessman Daniel Rono who garnered 14,450 votes. Mr Gideon Koech was second with 11,354 votes while Mr Kipsang was a distant third with 3,621 votes.
“I have good plans for the people of Keiyo South and if they elect me for the seat, I will improve their livelihoods and empower them economically,” Mr Kipsang had said in an earlier interview.
That message seems not to have resonated with the majority of voters there.
He won the Berlin Marathon in 2013 breaking the world record that was held by Mr Patrick Makau but his time was also lowered by Mr Dennis Kimetto one year later. He might be forced to go back and train hard for his second race this year.
Mr Kipsang is also expected to be named in the Kenyan team that will be heading to the IAAF World Championships in London in August.
In Nandi County, Chesumei constituency residents decided to send home their two-term MP Elijah Lagat, a former athlete.
Mr Lagat, a former Boston Marathon champion, garnered 7,751 votes against his rival Mr Wilson Kogo, a newcomer, who beat him after polling 13,492 votes. Mr Lagat won the race in 2000 after clocking 2hrs 9 minutes and 47 seconds before retiring and being elected into office in 2007.
In the neighbouring Trans Nzoia County, Cherang’any constituency, things were not any different after President Uhuru Kenyatta’s advisor on politics Joshua Kutuny polled 15,385 votes to cruise past the 2012 Boston marathon champion and MP Wesley Korir who got 8,378 votes.
“This victory is a clear indication that the electorate still has confidence in what I did for them during my tenure as an MP. I call upon my colleague to support me in my journey,” said Mr Kutuny.
Mr Korir, who kept off the tallying, is yet to comment on the results. In 2013, Mr Korir ran for the Cherang’any seat as an independent candidate and floored Mr Kutuny. He later decided to join the ruling party.
Former 800m Olympics champion Wilfred Bungei also suffered similar fate in Emgwen, Nandi County, after the current MP Alex Kosgei won the Jubilee nominations.
Mr Bungei had said athletes lacked proper representation in Parliament and he had aspired to be in the frontline to fight for them.