Before she succumbed to cancer and went to rest with the angels, I had not heard of Grace Kipchoim.
When her colleagues started sending their condolences, one thing stood out about her. Hon. Grace Kipchoim was a special kind of leader. There was something about her that set her apart as an MP.
Grace Kipchoim had to overcome many odds to become elected MP. She even overcame much more to be reelected the Baringo South MP in 2017. Her story was both interesting and inspiring to read.
The mother of four was already a widow when she was first elected to parliament in 2013. Coming from a patrician society, she had to fight a Herculean battle against 8 men to emerge victorious.
Having been elected, Grace did not rest on her laurels. She passionately set out to do what she had been elected to. She served her people diligently, she managed the resources entrusted on her faithfully, and in addition, she had a strong team she could rely on.
In an interview with The Standard after the 2017 election, the late MP revealed that the CDF committee took over the running of the constituency in her absence.
“In her absence, she says Baringo South Constituency Development Fund (CDF) committee took charge of running the constituency and initiating various development projects for the benefit of the electorate,” writes The Standard.
Lucky for her, she had a loyal, trustworthy and focused team. The team did not try to derail her vision. The team did not try to usurp her. They industriously pushed on her agenda winning her the admiration of many.
Grace Kipchoim was reelected on a Jubilee party ticket. By then, her health was so bad she didn’t even take part in the Jubilee party primaries. Regardless of this, she emerged the winner. Her past record, her past relationships with her staff and electorate ensured her win even in absentia.
Come the elections in August 7 2017, Grace was reelected though she won the race narrowly. She garnered 9,299 votes against KANU’s candidate Charles Kamuren who garnered 8,905 votes.
Hon. Grace Kipchoim
will be remembered not only as the first female MP from the larger Baringo, but as a woman of vision.
The woman whose father was mocked for educating a daughter was ardent in uplifting the education standards of her constituents. She invested in education and for many years to come, the mark she left will always be felt.
The legislator was also on the forefront fighting the outdated Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in her community. Over the years, she has also embarked on finding a lasting solution to insecurity and cattle rustling in the area. Hopefully, her successor will continue with this agenda.
Rest in peace Mama Grace Kipchoim. Yours was a live of valour and service to humanity. You had a vision, and you understood your people. Again, Rest in Peace Grace Kipchoim.
Some tributes to the late Hon. MP, Grace Kipchoim
The passing on of Hon. MP Grace Kipchoim is not only a loss to Baringo South, but to the whole country. I join relatives, friends and Baringo South residents in mourning a patriot who even in ill health, was focused on uplifting literacy levels and dealing with insecurity. May the good Lord give comfort to the family and Rest her in eternal peace. – Susan Kihika
The death of Grace Kipchoim has robbed her family, friends and the people of Baringo South constituency of an able, focused leader and a proven performer. She boasted of an enviable track record, which won her re-election while hospitalised.
— William Samoei Ruto, PhD (@WilliamsRuto) April 20, 2018
Really saddened by the news on Jon Grace Kipchoim. She fought so hard in the last years of her life. She fought even harder for the welfare of her constituents. Ruu netala Chebomuren. pic.twitter.com/Y7yhUfK2Lu
— Aaron Cheruiyot (@Aaroncheruiyot) April 20, 2018