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NASA to pick candidates by consensus, joint nominations

NASA co-principals Musalia Mudavadi and Raila Odinga during the signing of power sharing deal that will see them forge a common front against Jubilee Party. [Photo: Beverlyne Musili/ Standard]


NASA co-principals Musalia Mudavadi and Raila Odinga during the signing of power sharing deal that will see them forge a common front against Jubilee Party. [Photo: Beverlyne Musili/ Standard]

A National Super Alliance (NASA) committee has identified 14 counties where candidates for gubernatorial and other elective seats will be picked either through consensus or joint party primaries.

The team wants to minimise chances of a split in votes for candidates in NASA affiliate parties that could give their Jubilee Party rivals victory.

The draft seen by The Standard on Saturday listed Nairobi, Mombasa, Trans Nzoia, Narok, Kajiado, Turkana, Kisii, Wajir, Bungoma, Tana River, Kwale, Lamu, Marsabit and Garissa as counties where consensus or joint nomination primaries will be used to pick candidates.

The opposition alliance’s technical committee is expected to release the final document on Monday which will be shared with the party leaders to identify which gubernatorial, senate and constituency seats NASA will field candidates through consensus.

The formula will help the alliance identify who among opposition chiefs Raila Odinga (ODM), Musalia Mudavadi (ANC), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper) Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula will fly the NASA ticket.

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Also captured in the document is counties where each party will have the liberty to field their candidates, as they are perceived as opposition strongholds.

The counties are Busia, Homa Bay, Kakamega, Kilifi, Kisumu, Kitui, Machakos, Makueni, Migori, Nyamira, Siaya, Taita Taveta and Vihiga where NASA believes it does not face stiff competition from Jubilee.

The technical committee that includes economist David Ndii, lawyers Dan Ameyo, Abubakar Zein, Halima and Koitamet ole Kina will submit the final document that will be ratified by the coordinating group before it is presented to the summit members for endorsement.

Despite being predominantly opposition strongholds, the defection of former strong opposition leaders in Kwale, Turkana and Kisii has led the committee to include the counties as those that need to be handled carefully to retain the seats.

Kwale Govenor Salim Mvurya, Kisii Senator Chris Obure and his Turkana counterpart John Munyes ditched the opposition for Jubilee. They are all eying gubernatorial seats.

Tilt the tide

The technical committee will also identify close to 200 constituencies where aspirants for various elective seats will be picked consensus or joint nominations.

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Political parties are expected to hold nominations between April 13 and 26, as per revised election timelines released recently by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

Friday, ANC deputy leader Kipruto arap Kirwa said the plan to map out areas to pick candidates by consensus or joint nominations will allow NASA, to not only retain seats but also tilt the tide in the coalition’s favour against Jubilee.

He added that this will ensure the opposition does not lose seats due to unhealthy competition.

“We will go county by county, and all the constituencies that could easily fall under NASA and ensure that we do not lose on technicalities of either fielding more candidates,” he said.

During the Wiper National Executive Committee meeting in Nairobi last week, secretary general Omar Hassan said that they had identified Nairobi among counties that they want incumbent governors to be allowed to seek re-election.

In 2013 General Election, ODM and Wiper parties entered into a deal where the former picked Dr Evans Kidero for governorship and Jonathan Mueke as his running mate, a ticket that went ahead to win.

“We will retain the same pair for the 2017 polls in Nairobi,” said Omar.

Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama disclosed that they will agree on list of the counties and the constituencies in the next meeting on Tuesday.

“We will scrutinise the list and agree which mode will be used where to ensure we win majority of the seats,” said Mr Muthama.

Mr Kirwa said the consensus and joint nominations mode should be confined to the seats of governor, senator and MPs because they have to marshal support across the entire counties and parties be allowed to conduct independent primaries for lower seats.

The former Cherangany MP wants each affiliate party to hold nominations in opposition strongholds. “The management team, together with the technical committee will test the samples of ways they will use for the primaries to ensure they are practical and achievable,” said Kirwa. 

Ratify the agreements

The technical committee is also expected to give the way forward on how to pick the NASA flag bearer on Tuesday.

Once completed, the 12 member committee will ratify the agreements before presenting them to the summit members. The team comprises of Senators James Orengo (ODM, Siaya) and Johnsone Muthama (Wiper, Machakos), and MPs Sakwa Bunyasi (ANC, Nambale) and Eseli Simiyu (Ford Kenya, Tongaren) as co-chairs.

Others appointed to the team are Senators Bonnie Khalwale (Kakamega, Ford Kenya) and Agnes Zani (nominated, ODM), and MPs Chris Wamalwa (Kiminini, Ford Kenya) and Timothy Bosire (Kitutu Masaba, ODM) and Kirwa.

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Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya believes that joint primaries among the NASA affiliate parties will reduce internal competition that could give Jubilee undue advantage.

“I prefer a situation where all candidates from ODM, ANC, Ford Kenya and Wiper in the opposition strongholds are subjected to joint nominations so opposition zones remain intact, with Jubilee candidates being their only opponents at the ballot,” said Mr Oparanya

He is expected to battle it out with the Senator Boni Khalwale who will vie for governorshiop on a Fork Kenya ticket. “I personally don’t have a problem with the joint nominations in NASA,” he said.

However, one of the challenges that the Technical committee will be confronted with is how the joint membership will be done given that there are no joint registration cards for NASA.

The concern is that the coalitions of parties will be forced to hold the joint nominations together using registers of members of different parties, which already gives an edge to a party with more listed members in a given area.

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