Mother beats her first born son in Bomet East race
The street and village talk in Bomet East is that of the first born son of former minister Kipkalya Kones losing the parliamentary seat race to his mother.
Many say the race was futile as it was not “blessed” while others say Mr Kipng’etich Kalya Kones’ choice of party was an impediment to taking the seat from his mother, Beatrice Kones.
He was fronted by outgoing Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto’s Chama Cha Mashinani.
Mrs Kones of Jubilee earned another term in Parliament after beating eight opponents. Her son was fourth in the hotly contested race.
It was one of the most watched parliamentary duels in the country for the simple fact that it pitted members of a nuclear family.
Many Bomet East residents eagerly awaited the outcome. To some, the contest was a pointer to the region’s mature democracy, while many saw it as a case of a disjointed family.
Mrs Kones garnered 22,796 votes against her son’s 2,410. Mr Benard Bett, the incumbent MP, was second with 12,042 votes while Mr Amos Rotich came third with 4,160.
“This should be a big lesson to Kalya and other young people. You can never rise against your parent, especially your mother, and expect to succeed,” Mr Hezron Tangus, a Bomet East resident told the Nation.
“When my mother speaks, I go down on my knees.”
Some Facebook users asked Mr Kones to read the Bible and other holy books “which guide children on how to relate to their parents”.
Mr Malawi Rotich, a political analyst and lecturer at Laikipia University, said it was culturally suicidal to compete against one’s mother, especially in politics.
“Kalya is young. Considering that his mother is still politically active, he should have held his horses. He seems to have been led by what he thought was a CCM euphoria,” Mr Rotich said.
He said the Kalenjin culture dictated that Mr Kones should have consulted widely and heeded counsel from his father’s agemates like former Roads Minister Franklin Bett if he really wanted to succeed.
The Nation could not immediately get a comment from the victorious Mrs Kones.
In an earlier interview, she exuded confidence in winning the seat.
“I will easily trounce my son and reclaim the position I lost in 2013,” she told journalists.
During his campaigns, Mr Kones said his mother had nothing new to offer Bomet East residents and that she did not finish the job his father began before his death in 2008.
“CCM stands for what we aspire for as a people. A good example is its stand on devolution. That is what I stand for since my father also did the same,” he said.
Mrs Kones was first elected MP following the death of her husband in a plane crash in Enoosupukia, Narok. The former Cabinet minister died alongside Lorna Laboso, the sister of incoming Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso.
For many years since independence, the constituency top seat has revolved around the Kones and Isaac Kipkorir Salat’s families.
Salat is a former assistant minister in retired President Daniel arap Moi’s regime. Salat, the father of Kanu Secretary-General Nick Salat, was the area MP from 1979 till his death in 1987.
This paved the way for Mr Kones to succeed him a year later until his death. Kones’ wife succeeded him in a by-election, but lost to Mr Bett in 2013.
UNITY AND COHESION
Before this year’s elections, many residents said the two family members should have agreed on who would be on the ballot paper “for the sake of unity and cohesion”.
However, Mr Kones rejected the calls in an interview with the Nation.
“The time for negotiations expired in January when she declined to support me. It is time to hit the road and pursue my dreams,” he said while insisting that he respected his mother.
Mr Kones argued that in 2013, he respected her decision to gun for the seat on condition that she would support his bid this year.
“We were shocked when she insisted on contesting the seat despite having lost in 2013,” he said.
The incoming MP, however blamed the situation on Governor Ruto.
She accused the county boss of sponsoring her son to oppose her “for his selfish gains”, a charge Mr Ruto vehemently denied.
She had said her son’s ambition would not see the light of the day come August 8. It came to pass.
“I wonder how the governor would feel if somebody sponsored his son to run against him,” she said.
Ms Kones said the governor had made a name for himself in politics because of her husband and wondered why “he wants to destroy his late friend’s family”.
Mr Kones dismissed the claims.
“I am not fighting my mother. Political leadership has been in my blood for many years,” he said, adding that there was no bad blood between him and his mother.
“I have no personal differences with her. We have not quarrelled and there are no disputes away from politics. She remains my good mother,” he said.
Mr Joseph Kones, an elder, said parents bring up their children, educate them and bless them to lead a good life.
“She should support her son. It is shameful for a parent to fight her son, especially in public,” he said during the heated campaigns.
The elder, who is not related to the Kones family, said in an ordinary African situation, a man takes over from his father.
“We see the face of Kipkalya Kones in Kalya,” the elder had said, adding that residents wanted a leader who would fight for the community’s interests.