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Parties under NASA face acid test over joint nomination headache

Wiper Democratic Movement leader Kalonzo Musyoka addresses supporters at Kinna trading Centre, Isiolo County, on Saturday. [PHOTO: Maxwell Agwanda/STANDARD]

Parties under the National Super Alliance (NASA) are facing another hurdle that could undermine efforts by the coalition to field joint candidates for various elective seats.

Wiper Secretary General Hassan Omar refuted claims that parties under NASA – Orange Democratic Movement, Wiper, Ford Kenya and Amani National Congress – had agreed on joint nominations in some areas.

Siaya Senator James Orengo, who is also NASA National Coordinating Committee (NCC) chairman, last week said the coalition was planning joint nominations in some areas such as Nairobi and Mombasa.

But speaking last Friday, Mr Omar said the Wiper National Executive Committee had not ratified any decision for joint nomination.

FEARS UNFOUNDED

And yesterday, the Mombasa senator said he stands by his remarks, arguing fears that the coalition would lose by fielding multiple candidates were unfounded and being pushed by certain individuals with selfish interests.

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“In many situations, the people have come to alternative parties because of botched nominations. Why would we take them back to that problem,” he said.

“Let people meet at the ballot because agreeing to it will be tantamount to dissolving the parties. You can’t tell us that you want to do joint nomination,” he added.

Omar said Wiper party will only agree to joint nomination for certain seats in Nairobi and any other place.

“What science did they use to identify Mombasa as one of the areas for joint nominations?” he posed.

The senator is eyeing the governor’s seat currently held  by Hassan Joho, who is also ODM deputy party leader.

And reacting to Omar’s statement, ODM is now accusing Wiper of stifling efforts for joint nominations.

The party’s director of elections Junet Mohammed yesterday asked NCC to give direction on the matter so that parties can start planning for separate primaries if there would be no agreement for a joint process. 

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“The way our partners have started talking, do you think the joint nominations will work? We want the national committee to come clean on the matter so that we know the direction we are taking as a party,” said Mr Mohammed.

And at the weekend, Amani National Congress (ANC) secretary general Godfrey Osotsi and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya – the ODM deputy party leader – were also reading from different scripts when they addressed separate meetings in Mumias East Constituency.

“ANC National Executive Council passed a resolution saying the party will not support joint nominations except in cosmopolitan areas where political outfits forming NASA do not command a huge following,” Mr Osotsi said.

He said the party will field candidates for all elective posts in Western, Coast, Nyanza, Rift Valley as well as North Eastern, among other areas.

“It is an NEC resolution not my own or that of our party leader Musalia Mudavadi. We shall have our candidates face off with those of ODM, Wiper and Ford Kenya in the Opposition strongholds so that the people can have an opportunity to elect the best,” added Osotsi.

 But Oparanya said ODM was encouraging other political outfits within NASA to embrace joint nominations.

“By doing so, we shall have one Opposition candidate facing a Jubilee competitor but our partners are reluctant and will hear nothing about it, “ said the governor.

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Oparanya argued that the push for each party to sponsor its candidates could give Jubilee added advantage.

“Even if they insist to go it alone to avoid joint nominations, eventually they will have to meet the same rivals they are avoiding at the ballot,” he argued.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has directed political parties to hold their nominations from April 13 to 26.

Wetang’ula yesterday said the committee should be allowed to prepare its report on how to run the primaries without any distraction from any party.

He said the mandate to come up with nomination rules was given to the national committee, which has representatives from all the four parties.

“It is still work in progress. We have not received any report from the team. It is for them to come up with the rules,” said Wetang’ula.

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