How Linet “Toto” Chepkorir’s Journey into Parliament Began in a WhatsApp Group

A dream that started in a Whatsapp group in a small Ward in the county of Bomet has come true. Linet Chepkorir, 24, is better known as Toto since she is the incoming woman representative for County 036 in Bomet county.

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

Friends, family, and relatives have come in the village of Chemamul in the Bomet East Sub County to honor their daughter.

“This is my home area, Chemamul village, and this is where I grew up. I went to Kapsimbiri Primary school from there I joined Kapsimbiri High School in Form 1 and in Form 2 went to a certain Siwot School in Longisa. After Form 4, I joined Tharaka University College and I graduated last year having pursued procurement, then I joined politics… I feel so good and so happy having been elected at this age,” Linet said.

Regarding her journey to victory, her elder brother Collins Yegon recalls, “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 understand 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 gas-guzzling vehicles, Linet used motorcycles and later, fuel-funded vehicles, to get about the campaign sites, markets, funerals, and churches.

”It has been a challenge but I want to thank God for standing with me… you can imagine having graduated, I don’t have finances, I don’t have a job and I come from a humble background so my parents also could not finance my campaigns,” Linet stated.

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.

“In campaign times, role yangu ilikuwa story na posters, tulikuwa tunatumia pikipiki kwanza, mpaka beshte yetu akatupatia gari. So akiongelesha watu mimi nazunguka kuweka posters,” Tegon said.

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.

“Tuko na furaha tele… ata nikichinjwa ni furaha tu juu hapa nyumbani ametuinua kweli. Tuko chini kabisa, mimi niko nyumbani hustling, bibi yangu ni mwalimu wa nursery na hawa watoto wote kusoma ni Mungu tu,” Linet’s father said.

Her brother added: “Nimefurahi mpaka najiuliza kumbe Mungu anapeana second chance juu nilikuwa nimelose hope. Mimi ni graduate, nilifanya Bachelor of Commerce Accounting option na niko nyumbani na wengine wananifuata wananitegemea. Wakati amechukua nimepata ile courage ya kuongea.”

Linet’s mother added: “Toto ako na hio uwezo kwa sababu enyewe ni mdogo lakini akili yake ni kubwa kuliko hio mwili wake, mimi namjua sababu nimelea nimemuona so hio ni kidogo kwake tunataka aongoze Kenya nzima.”

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

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Written by Esther Oyugi

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