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How Sonko’s stance on smart cards could be his undoing

Raphael Tuju, the head of the Jubilee Party secretariat, on Monday said the National Elections Board will make a decision on the use of the cards, a double-edged decision that will cut both ways.

Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko’s refusal to buy membership cards for his supporters could turn out to be his undoing as they might not get the chance to vote for him in the coming party nominations.

Jubilee Party vice chairman David Murathe told the Nation on Monday the cards are considered crucial for the nominations as they will help weed out non-members and possible saboteurs.

At a raucous interview on Citizen TV Sunday evening, Mr Sonko declared that he had refused to buy the membership cards the party plans to use to identify members during the nominations.

“We have proposed to the party leader, the President, that we abolish the issue of the cards. Let Kenyans from all the communities vote in Nairobi as Jubilee supporters.

“We have got so many Jubilee supporters today in Nairobi but these guys the way they are distributing the cards they are giving the cards to one community,” said Mr Sonko.

DIGITAL CARDS

He said he had recorded a conversation with a supplier of the cards he claimed was a supporter of Peter Kenneth, his competitor for the Jubilee Party ticket for governor of Nairobi.

“I have not bought even a single card and I am not going to buy,” said Mr Sonko.

On Monday, Mr Murathe said the cards are necessary.

“The law as it is that you have to belong to a party to participate in that party’s nominations. The way to demonstrate that you belong to our party is the card. That card will allow you to enter the polling centre and you will find the party register and the IEBC register. If someone thinks there will be a free-for-all, they are grossly mistaken,” said Mr Murathe.

DECISION

“The NEB has the final authority and will soon pronounce themselves on the smart card use after doing due diligence. They are on a fact finding mission,” Mr Tuju said.

The party is under pressure from its members and aspirants to abandon the card, but having collected approximately Sh140 million from the seven million cards it had sold, the party is in a Catch 22 situation.

Mr Sonko yesterday apologized for his behaviour and remarks at the interview, but the effects of his allegations and the stand he took are unlikely to be forgotten by the wrangling aspirants in Jubilee in the city.

TV INTERVIEW

Mr Sonko appeared emotional and angry in the interview, insulting his opponents and perceived enemies and referring to others in unsavoury language at every turn, and declared his readiness to fight for the Jubilee ticket.

His barbs were mainly aimed at Peter Kenneth, who is competing with him and Margaret Wanjiru and Dennis Waweru for the ticket. Yesterday, Nominated MP Isaac Mwaura castigated Mr Sonko for referring to the light-skinned Mr Kenneth as an albino.

“It’s totally uncalled for to use our status in derogatory terms in order to settle political scores. Mr Sonko should know that persons with albinism are Kenyans too   and who have a right to be elected to any office,” said Mr Mwaura.

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