Nairobi Senator Mike Mbuvi Sonko at the Milimani Law Courts when he bailed out Githurai based Police Constable Titus Musila alias Katitu.PHOTO.FIDELIS KABUNYI
The next nine days have a significant influence on the choice of leaders to be elected to various offices in the August 8 elections.
Starting yesterday to April 5, political parties are vetting and submitting to the electoral commission the names of candidates to participate in next month’s nominations.
Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) CEO Ezra Chiloba told parties yesterday to comply with the timelines because there would be no extension.
The directive applies to some 67 political parties that beat the deadline to submit their nomination rules ready for the primaries scheduled next month.
“Nothing has changed with the timelines. We expect the political parties to submit lists of those who will participate in the nominations,” said Chiloba. The IEBC boss explained that a multi-agency team established last week to vet thousands of political aspirants will start its operations.
It will steer the electoral verification and clearance process to ensure compliance with the leadership and integrity provisions under the Constitution and electoral laws.
Membership of the agency, referred to as the Chapter Six Working Group, includes IEBC, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), office of the Attorney General, office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and office of the Registrar of Political Parties.
“We formed a joint team that will work together to fast-track the vetting of candidates. The process will begin on Tuesday,” said Chiloba.
It is on the back of the expected rigorous screening by the agency that parties, too, are likely to enforce the provisions to ensure the candidates they present to IEBC to participate in nominations meet the requirements lest they are barred.
Parties have received applications from members and will clear those to contest nominations for seats in the Senate, National Assembly, county assemblies and governor’s post.
With the IEBC acting as the central co-ordinating agency, the group will open service centres across the country to verify and clear aspirants and candidates.
The screening will determine, for instance, the legitimacy of academic certificates following claims that most politicians have dubious papers.
Others are facing integrity issues that include graft, hate speech and rape charges. They are, therefore, at risk of being barred particularly if MPs approve draft IEBC regulations pending in the House.
Aspirants could be disqualified from running if they have pending court cases, including tax evasion, assault, fraud, falsification of academic papers, misuse of firearms and incitement to violence.
It is, however, unlikely that MPs would approve such a high threshold.
And once candidates are gazetted by IEBC between March 30 and April 12, it would pave the way for party primaries that must be completed by April 26.
According to revised election timelines released by IEBC, parties are required to hold their primaries between April 6 and 26.
In past elections, politicians who secure nomination certificates of dominant parties in their regions improve their chances of winning, hence primaries are bitterly contested.
This explains why there is heightened tension in the ruling Jubilee Party and the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) strongholds.
NASA to pick flag-bearer through consensus
Jubilee supporters have clashed across the country in polls for county election boards.
Tension is also rising in NASA where affiliate parties have cleared two or three strong candidates. Losers in party primaries risk political oblivion until 2022 unless they exploit a narrow window to vie as independents.
It is against this backdrop that titanic battles are shaping up as politicians scheme to win in nominations.
In Nairobi County, fireworks are expected as Senator Mike Sonko faces former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth for the Jubilee governor’s ticket.
Woman Representative Rachel Shebesh faces newcomers Millicent Omanga, a former KenGen director, and Janet Muthoni-Ouko, director of Elimu Yetu Coalition for the Jubilee ticket.
ODM nominations for parliamentary seats in the city are also expected to be hotly contested as incumbents battle newcomers or seasoned politicians who lost in 2013.
In Ruaraka Constituency, for instance, MP TJ Kajwang’ will face off with nominated Senator Elizabeth Ongoro.
In Makadara Constituency, ODM Nairobi branch chairman George Aladwa will square it out with former MP Reuben Ndolo .
In Kiambu County, Kabete MP Ferdinand Waititu will fight it out with Governor William Kabogo for the Jubilee Party ticket.
Former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru will square it out with Governor Joseph Ndathi in Kirinyaga County. Whoever emerges winner will face Narc-Kenya’s Martha Karua.
In Embu, Governor Martin Wambora will face Runyenjes MP Cecily Mbarire. In Nyeri, newly sworn-in Governor Joseph Wamathai is tussling with Senator Mutahi Kagwe for the Jubilee ticket.
In Laikipia, a nephew of former President Mwai Kibaki, also a former Industrialisation assistant minister Nderitu Muriithi, will battle it out with Governor Joshua Irungu and former Foreign Affairs PS Thuita Mwangi for Jubilee’s ticket. In Nakuru, Governor Kinuthia Mbugua will face off with former National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) chairman Lee Kinyanjui for the Jubilee ticket.
For the Senate race, Senator James Mungai, Nakuru County Speaker Susan Kihika and veteran politician Koigi wa Wamwere are fighting for Jubilee’s nomination certificate.
In Uasin Gishu, Governor Jackson Mandago will face off with businessman Bundotich Zedekiah Kiprop, popularly known as Buzeki, and Edward Serem, chief Health officer in Nandi County for the Jubilee ticket.
In Bomet, National Assembly Deputy Speaker and Sotik MP Dr Joyce Laboso will fight it out with former National Water and Pipeline Corporation chairman Dr Julius Kones for the Jubilee ticket. The winner will face Governor Isaac Ruto of Chama Cha Mashinani.
The nominations are expected to be fierce in Nyanza and Western regions, dominated by ODM. In Busia, Governor Sospeter Ojaamong’ will square it out with Funyula MP Paul Otuoma for the ODM ticket.
ODM has cleared Kisumu Senator Anyang’ Nyong’o and Deputy Governor Ruth Odinga to face Governor Jack Ranguma for its ticket.
ODM Deputy Organising Secretary Roza Buyu is also seeking to unseat Kisumu Woman Representative Rose Nyamunga in the party primaries. In Siaya, Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo will battle it out with Governor Cornel Rasanga for the ODM ticket.
Still in Siaya, Raila’s brother Oburu Odinga and his cousin Jakoyo Midiwo (Gem) are eyeing the Bondo and Gem parliamentary seats respectively.
But Oburu has to first win the primaries against incumbent Gedion Ochanda while Midiwo has to floor his perennial rival, Elisha Odhiambo.
In Homa Bay, Governor Cyprian Awiti is battling Kasipul MP Oyugi Magwanga for the Orange ticket.
In Migori, Governor Okoth Obado, who last year crossed over to ODM from People’s Democratic Party (PDP), will face off with the wife of Nyatike MP Edick Anyanga, Anne Anyanga, and former minister Ochillo Ayacko.
ODM chairman John Mbadi will fight it out for the party ticket with former Chief of Staff in Raila’s office, Caroli Omondi.
IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati said the electoral body will publish names of all nominated candidates between June 10 and 17 as required by law.