Nicknames: How Kericho politicians rebrand themselves to woo voters

When it comes to elections in Kenya, branding is everything and every politician works on an identity that voters can easily identify with and will not forget easily. Nicknames are one of the ways that politicians brand themselves to win votes.

These names are mostly derived from the candidate’s previous ‘hustle’ or what he/she intends to come and do to the electorate once he is elected.

For instance, in Kericho during the last assembly, most of the members were being called after their previous ‘hustles’ or what they had promised their electorate to do for them.

Kipchebor Ward MCA Eric Bett who called himself ‘Watchman’ as he previously worked at G4S security firm. This name endeared him to the electorate who elected him thinking that he was really a watchman but in the actual sense, he was the Regional Manager of the firm.

He was voted back during the recently concluded general elections.

Kamasian Ward MCA Philip Rono uses the nickname ‘Safaricom’ since he was working for the leading Telco before resigning to join politics in the 2017 general elections. He too was re-elected during the just concluded general elections

The incoming Kericho County Governor Dr Eric Mutai called himself ‘The Equaliser’ after promising the Kericho residents that he would form a government which treats all of them equally. Surprisingly, the wave that he created swept away the former Energy and Devolution Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter after being nominated with over 130,000 votes compared to Keter’s 60,000.

He was recently elected as the county governor after garnering 316,768 votes.

Kericho senator Aaron Cheruiyot came up with ‘Kiptoyot Komas Kasiit’ nickname during the 2015 Senatorial by-elections after the then-senator Charles Keter was appointed as the Cabinet Secretary by the Jubilee government.

The phrase was coined due to his youthful nature then, depicting that he would work tirelessly for the residents of the county. The phrase has literally been picked by all and sundry who seek elective positions within and without the county.

The senator was re-elected for the third term during the recently concluded general elections.

The incoming Woman Representative Beatrice Kemei called herself ‘Chebaibai Mama Yao’, a name depicting an ever-smiling woman in the Kipsigis community dialect. The Woman Representative-elect was elected into office unopposed during the recent general elections after beating her competitors during the UDA party primaries which were held in April.

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