Jubilee sends firm message to aspirants ahead of primaries

Jubilee Party says it is willing to sacrifice its loyal lieutenants for the sake of internal democracy in the upcoming primaries as it seeks to stump out chaos seen in other parties.

Officials admitted they had a “mammoth exercise” in conducting nominations in one day, but warned aspirants will neither be favoured nor be allowed to compete if violent.

Jubilee holds its primaries next Friday in 33 counties involving more than 8,000 aspirants seeking various posts, from governors to county assembly members.

It has hired about 60,000 polling officials for the primaries.

“We want to differentiate ourselves from the historically chaotic nominations that we have had in this country,” National Elections Board Chairman Andrew Musangi said Friday.

The party’s officials said violent aspirants and those keen on jumping ship once they lose in the primaries will be prevented from getting cleared by the electoral commission.

“Anybody who is here because they see bright red colours and his excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Deputy President and then they say I am ready to jump later but I will still support the President, then they are not being honest,” Mr Musangi said.

He spoke even as a case filed by the Council of Governors to challenge the law against party hopping, is pending in court.

Jubilee’s primaries are coming with the possibility of dividing the party, especially in areas where it enjoys massive support, but which have produced strong aspirants seeking the ticket.

Yesterday, the party officials spoke after training 300 presiding officers and intends to train all the polling officials before April 21.

But the party is also fighting how to keep itself together after the primaries.

“The rule of the thumb is someone has to win, because there cannot be a tie. If there is a tie, then we have to repeat the elections.

“But as a party, we understand there can be people who will be unhappy with the outcome and we have to go back and rally the bases,” Secretary-General Raphael Tuju argued.

Of concern too is violence and here, the Jubilee says it will recommend disqualification even if the candidate decamps afterwards.

“If we get any evidence that you have done a Men-in-Black on us, we will disqualify you. And if the electoral commission sees that we have disqualified you rightly, you will not even be allowed to run as an independent,” added Mr Tuju.

“It is in your interest as an aspirant that you don’t visit violence on us because we will have agents in all polling stations and we will use footage from media houses,” he continued.

Jubilee says it is planning well to ensure “no party member is disenfranchised by the primaries” but its aspirants in Murang’a, Nairobi and other parts have been violent.

They spoke as their rivals in ODM ran into chaos on day one of their staggered nominations.

In Busia, ODM nullified governor aspirants nominations after irregularities over number of voters.

Yet the Jubilee has scheduled all nominations on one day, a logistical nightmare that party officials say they are aware of.

But they argue they have planned for it and want to address all the problems that come from it at once.

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