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Ford Kenya prepares for nominations as it searches for its roar

Moses Wetangula during the signing of NASA power sharing deal (Photo: Beverlyne Musili/Standard)


Moses Wetangula during the signing of NASA power sharing deal (Photo: Beverlyne Musili/Standard)

Ford Kenya has moved to clean house in what is seen as seeking the confidence of aspirants and party supporters ahead of nominations scheduled for mid next month.

Perhaps in acknowledgement of the role of elected leaders in messing up nominations in the past, the party’s management committee has given the National Elections Board sweeping mandate to ensure a free and fair nomination exercise.

Two months into the job, the Grace Katasi-led board has moved to exercise its independence from the party. “As a demonstration of our operational independence, we have as a board acquired our office,” Ms Katasi says.

Shes says the board has also secured a consolidated budget allocation into its own account to run all operations. “This way, we do not have to run after anybody to fund our activities and we are sure our programmes will run on a schedule drawn by ourselves,” she says.

Nominations have been the bane of political parties in the past. Popular candidates have been rigged out. The result is that parties have lost appeal, reach, public goodwill and support as popular candidates defect to other parties – many of them going ahead to win in the General Election. Some candidates have even presented fake nomination certificates in the past.

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These are the realities Katasi and her team are alive to and are working to guard against. “We know the story of nomination certificates and how several candidates running for the same seat could each end up with nomination certificates,” she says, adding, “We are going to procure ballot boxes, ballot papers and nomination certificates with high security features and unique serial numbers to guard against any forgeries.”

Unlike in the past when the party hired polling officials to oversee nominations, the Board will identify, recruit and train all election officers including polling clerks, presiding officers and returning officers.

Over the last two weeks, the board has held pre-nomination conferences with aspirants, taking them through new measures in place to ensure free and fair nominations.

Katasi says the Board will also issue nomination certificates to successful candidates as fast as is practically possible. “We hope to eliminate the waiting period between winning and issuing the certificate during which time fraud actually starts,” she says.

In anticipation of petitions, the Elections Board will be moving to each county accompanied by a five-member tribunal led by Rtd Justice Okubasu. “The Dispute Resolution Tribunal will hear all petitions in 72 hours,” Katasi says. “Only after the matter has been resolved will a certificate be issued.”

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