Bomet Governor Hillary Barchok has retained the area gubernatorial seat race in a hotly contested election that has triggered tension in the county.
Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC) County Returning Officer Mr Daniel Lenarum awarded Prof Barchok the certificate early Friday morning.
The announcement, which was made at Santa Giuseppina Bakhita Technical Institute of Bomet, was preceded by chaos in Bomet town on Thursday, when supporters of Isaac Rutto clashed with Barchok’s supporters, with Rutto’s supporters declaring their win before the results were announced.
However, the security agencies moved in swiftly and contained the situation in the town and security was beefed up around the county tallying centre before the declaration of the results.
Barchok, who took over the office following the demise of the second governor Dr Joyce Laboso, won the gubernatorial race with 158,798 votes, ahead of Isaac Rutto of CCM, who garnered 137,325 votes.
Other competitors were Andrew Kibet Toweet of the Green Party who got 508 votes, and Benard Chepkwony Mutai of Amani National Congress (ANC) who got 1,915 votes.
Addressing the media after he was declared governor-elect, Barchok expressed his gratitude to Bomet residents for voting for him and promised to make sure that Bomet County develops into an economic hub.
“What is important now is that we work for the residents of Bomet. It does not matter whether you voted for me or not, everyone will benefit from my government. We may have said hurtful things about each other during campaigns, and we apologise. I intend to work with all my competitors to make Bomet better,” said Barchok.
Barchok explained that despite the chaos that had been witnessed in the afternoon hours of Thursday, he is confident that the elections were free and fair, transparent. None of the other three contenders has conceded so far.
By Lamech Willy