By Levy Kemboi,Nairobi
The entry of Nandi County Senator Stephen Arap Sang in the race to unseat the incumbent Governor Dr. Cleophas Lagat has jolted the political landscape in the county and clearly turned the contest for the seat into a two horse race.
The race had earlier been billed as a three horse race between Governor Lagat, Former Minister Henry Kosgey and Former Agriculture CS Felix Koskei. However, Sang’s decision to vie for the seat has upset the political set up in the county.
According to analysts, the rest of the contestants seeking the top county job should keep their resources or eye other seats that they can easily clinch as for now there are only two viable candidates in Former Minister Henry Kosgey and Senator Sang.
Although the talk about a two-horse race between Sang and Kosgey for the governor’s seat may be a bit premature, currently the two are the most visible with equal superior political muscle.
Kosgey came second to Sang in the Senatorial race in the last general elections and mainly lost because he was not within the Jubilee wave.
However, he also faces accusations of keeping a distance from the electorate since his defeat in 2013, though he has announced that he took a break from politics to concentrate on his Ph.D. studies.
Sang, the man who caused an upset by vying for uncharted territory and won the Senate seat has declared that he is firmly in the race, with many of those who voted for him in the last elections believing and holding to the conviction that he is the best bet to replace Lagat.
Lagat has lost popularity in most parts of the county, however, it is not easy to fight incumbency. Governor Lagat is a man of means who has recruited political lieutenants whose only source of income has been the handouts and will fight for him to retain the seat so they won’t be rendered virtual beggars after the election.
Though minimal, the governor has created a fiercely loyal support base in some parts of the county.
On the other hand, Former CS Felix Koskei has been edged out from the main contest. He had entered the race banking on his deep pockets but he has unable to hold on to the stiff and dynamic nature of the county’s political scene.
Some of his vote-hunt projects including the free artificial insemination service through his Chalan Foundation failed to materialize and dealt him a huge political blow.
Apart from the four, the race has attracted other aspirants whose bids have so far remained inconsequential as eyes remain fixated on the anticipated fierce contest between Sang and Kosgey.