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Jubilee under pressure over primaries deadline

Ballot papers being prepared for delivery to various counties ahead of nominations. [Willis Awandu, Standard]

Jubilee Party has said it is under immense pressure to meet the deadline for primaries.

This, it said, may force it to further make changes to its timetable.

The party’s Secretary General Raphael Tuju said this Sunday, as he moved to assure supporters and aspirants in Baringo, Kirinyaga, Bomet, Nandi and Elgeyo Marakwet counties, where primaries are set for today, that everything was in place for a credible process.

Mr Tuju said the party has doubled the number of staff working under logistics to prevent a repeat of Friday’s fiasco that saw nominations in 21 counties cancelled.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has directed parties to conclude nominations by April 26 the day Jubilee nominations for Nairobi are scheduled.

Primaries for President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy William Ruto’s party were marred with chaos and protests last week after the party failed to deliver enough polling materials for the high-stake exercise.

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Chaos and protests

Jubilee’s Central and Rift Valley strongholds experienced hitches in delivery of materials, as some places, including Ruiru, which is a few kilometres from JP headquarters, only managed to get ballot papers at about noon.

“I want to appeal to supporters and aspirants to be patient; keep your attention on the timetable as it may change since we are dealing with a fluid situation, because of the amount of pressure to meet the deadline on Wednesday,” said Mr Tuju.

He added: “We know this is painful for our aspirants, because it is taking a lot of their time and resources. We are doing all the best we can to deliver a credible primaries that gives everybody a chance.”

The party yesterday pushed forward nominations for Nairobi, which were set for today to Wednesday.

Tuju explained that the party has printed new ballot papers to prevent any form of manipulation in form of prior ballot marking.

“In areas where the integrity of the papers have been breached, we have printed papers a fresh,” he said.

Many aspirants had raised issues over the ballot papers, fearing that they could be used to rig the process.

The party further exuded confidence that today’s process will run smoothly, as they have addressed some of the challenges that affected the botched process.

“We did a 50 per cent of the registered voters and that’s why we had issues following a massive turnout. Now, we have printed 100 per cent based on IEBC’s latest figures after the second mass voter registration,” he explained.

Today is the day of reckoning for aspirants in Nandi and Elgeyo Marakwet where both new and seasoned politicians will clash.

In Nandi, Governor Cleophas Lagat is set to face off with former Industrialisation Minister Henry Kosgey, Senator Stephen Sang and former Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS) Felix Koskei. Others eyeing the ticket are Silas Kipruto, only female candidate Yuliter Mitei, Barnabas Sang, Alphonse Misoi and Peter Maiyo.

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Ballot papers being prepared for delivery to various counties ahead of nominations. [Willis Awandu, Standard]

“The primaries should be handled with much keenness, because they define the image of the party to the electorate, the earlier the material is dispatched in required quantities the better it will be for a trustworthy exercise,” said Mr Kosgey.

More candidates have also lined up for the positions of the senator, women representative, parliamentary and Member of County Assembly (MCA).

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Titanic battle

Governor Alex Tolgos of Elgeyo Marakwet will face off with current Keiyo South MP Jackson Kiptanui, Moses Changwony, Benard Chepkulei and Livingstone Cheboi.

Mr Kiptanui, a two term MP was first elected in 2007 before clinching his second term in 2013 General Election on a URP ticket.

In Kirinyaga it is do or die for the governor’s nominations this morning in the two horse race for the Jubilee ticket.

Governor Joseph Ndathi and his main challenger, former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Ann Waiguru, will face off again following the cancelled vote last Friday.

Ms Waiguru is expected to cast her ballot at her Kiamugumo Primary School polling center while Ndathi will vote at Rukenya primary school.

Yesterday, Mr Ndathi said he has since written to the Jubilee headquarters demanding for an overhaul of the entire election officials.

In the letter, hand delivered on Saturday to Tuju, the governor claimed close relatives of a local businessman had been recruited to run the nominations.

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He also alleged that the same family vehicles have been hired to transport the election materials, a situation he feels cannot guarantee free and fair nominations.

“Last Friday, we witnessed many loop holes. It is even better for the whole exercise to be nullified as it would not have reflected the wishes of the people,” he wrote.

Party officials in the county declined to comment on the matter insisting they are outsiders.

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