By VITALIS KIMUTAI and PETER OPIYO
Presidential party nominations may end up being tickets to oblivion for those fighting to succeed President Kibaki because the Constitution robbed the losers the soft-landing Kenyans are used to.
Not only has the Constitution taken away the many short-cuts losers exploited to get back to public life and gainful employment after defeat, but it has also guaranteed many of them will be in the cold until the next election cycle — if age, relevance and resources — still allow.
Because it is either victory or consignment to the political cooler for five years, the battle for State House next year is, therefore, a do-or-die affair.
Of course the other alternative for those who think they may lose could be offering themselves as running mates of those they deem to have a better chance to win, for the same Constitution guarantees that in this way, one will be automatically become the Deputy President.
Unlike in the past, there is no chance that the losers can in any way find their way back into Cabinet firstly because this is now no-go-zone for politicians, and secondly, the holders of these posts have been brought down to between 14 and 21 and all will be vetted by Parliament.
So even the mere prospect of a Presidential bid loser being vetted by ordinary MPs for a junior post, even though not open to them, must be unsettling for those seeking to rule Kenya next.
That means that Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, Deputy Prime Ministers Musalia Mudavadi and Uhuru Kenyatta, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, Justice minister Eugene Wamalwa, Gichugu MP Martha Karua, Former PS James ole Kiyiapi, Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth, Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo, and Gachoka MP Mutava Musyimi, face the risk of being left in the political cold if they go ahead and vie for the top job then lose.
But of course only one or two of them may survive the prospect of political oblivion or peripheral influence in Kenyan politics once outside Parliament and Cabinet, if they team up and end up the winning pair.
The only window they could exploit is to include their names on party nomination lists so that they are considered for nomination under the special interests rule where, probably, they could offer themselves as party leaders.
It, however, remains to be seen how a presidential candidate could expose himself to ridicule by accepting to be nominated as a backbench Member of Parliament.
Again, parties are expected to deposit a list of names they expect to nominate with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission before the general elections, meaning the traditional row over who should be nominated could be fought out even before elections, a fact that could put the presidential candidates in a difficult position.
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