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Jubilee in new plan to curb defections

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party has stepped up measures to stem defections in the wake of disgruntlement that has seen the outfit lose aspirants in parts of the country.

Among the raft of measures the party has put in place is to have the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission train its clerks, and presiding and returning officers.

The party will also use the electoral commission’s ballot boxes, according to Jubilee secretariat head Raphael Tuju.

READ: Jubilee Party downplays defections

The party will also reshuffle officials in charge of the nominations in constituencies where aspirants fear there would be favouritism.

“If they are local people and have specific candidates, we can reshuffle them so that there is less contamination of the process by people with vested interests,” Mr Tuju said.

The party also extended the deadline for submission of nomination papers by five days, beginning from Monday, “because of increased public demand for the service”.

Speaking at the party headquarters in Nairobi, Mr Tuju said concerns that the electoral system can be tampered with following cases of hacking in the banking sector should be investigated.

Mr Tuju said the party’s National Elections Board chairman Pwoka Wanyonyi and eight members, who will be sworn in on Monday, will be responsible for nominations and engagement with the polls team.

And it has emerged that with a March 19 deadline to submit to the electoral agency a list of party members, aspirants for the various seats are in a fight of their lives to enlist as many people as possible and shore up their chances.

The law also prohibits politicians from party hopping.

FAIR PRIMARIES
With a Sh20 smart card that will be used for nominations and one that is being bought by the aspirants, one would, by March 19, have known with almost 100 per cent certainty if they will have any chance at the primaries.

Jubilee has been losing aspirants, a matter that is said to worrying the leadership of the juggernaut, which was formed by collapsing TNA, URP and 10 other parties at the end of last year.

What is driving aspirants to scamper to smaller parties is the fear that the party might hold shambolic elections.

Kanu is one the parties that have positioned themselves to benefit from the expected nomination fallouts.

Mr Tuju also dismissed claims that Jubilee was planning to officially accept parties that were not dissolved to join the President Uhuru Kenyatta-led outfit.

“We don’t have any formal agreement with any party. They are collaborating with us. There is no official engagement,” Mr Tuju said.

He however said Jubilee leadership cannot discourage parties that are drumming up support for President Kenyatta’s re-election from doing so because that showed a majority of Kenyans were happy with what the government had achieved.

“The fact that parties are saying they want to support the President is a good thing. I will be stupid to fight with them,” Mr Tuju said.

On Thursday, the electoral agency declined to run the Jubilee nominations, dashing hopes of the party using it to stem the defections.

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