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How WhatsApp group propelled 24-Year-Old Linet Toto’s journey into Parliament



By Judith Gicobi

An idea that first surfaced in a Whatsapp group in a tiny Ward in the county of Bomet has come to pass. The woman representative-elect for County 036 in Bomet county is Linet Chepkorir, 24, popularly known as Toto.

Linet defeated nine elder candidates, including nominated Senator Dr. Alice Milgo, who finished in a distant second place with 43,180 votes, a difference of about 200,000 votes. Linet received 242, 775 votes overall.

When asked about her path to victory, Collins Yegon, her older brother, recalled: “Vyenye alimaliza akaanza kujua mambo ya WhatsApp so kuna group ingine tulikuwa tumeform ya ward yetu inaitwa Merigi Ward Forum so watu wakaanza kumuita Woman Rep juu alikuwa among the few ladies wenye walikuwa wa hio group.”

He added: “So vile aliitwa woman rep na hio wakati siasa karibu inaanza so nyumbani akaanza kusema anataka kuvie tukadhani maybe alikuwa anajoke.”

Her father Richard Langat and her family didn’t realize that she was serious about her goals until after two public episodes.

“Vile alisema sikuwa naamini nilifikiria ni mchezo ya watoto siku ingine tukaenda mazishi wakasema all aspirants wasimame akasimama na kuenda mbele nikaangalia chini…

siku ingine tena tukiwa mahali wakauliza aspirants wasimame akasimama. Jioni nikamuuliza uko serious? Akasema yes nikamwambia basi endelea,” her father explained.

Linet’s mum weighed in to say, “Hata sisi hatukuwa tunaamini tulikuwa tunaona ni mdogo, hatuna pesa ya kutumia so tunamwambia asiombe hii nafasi but hatukujua this was from God.”

In contrast to her rivals, who traveled the five sub-counties of Bomet in fuel-guzzling vehicles, Linet would walk then later used motorcycles and fuel-funded vehicles, to get about the campaign sites, markets, funerals, and churches.

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Linet’s older brother describes how they struggled to walk far distances before kind people provided a car and how they had to up posters with baking powder.

Linet, who is still young, credits her accomplishments to perseverance and the steadfast support of her family, the church, and the residents of Bomet County. Her parents have faith in her ability to lead.

Linet pledged to collaborate with her rivals and all Bomet citizens, regardless of their party orientation, during her acceptance speech.

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