By Rawlings Otieno

KENYA: United Republican Party (URP) has received a major boost following the defection of councillors from Kilifi and Wajir counties.

More than 150 county representative aspirants from Kilifi and Wajir defected to the William Ruto-led party ahead of the much touted party nomination on January 17.

URP Chairman Francis ole Kaparo said that the members defected from other parties including ODM, UDF and Narc-Kenya.

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He reiterated that the party had put in place structures to conduct a free, fair and credible nomination and that no person will be issued with a certificate if the person had not fairly won the nomination.

“We want to assure our party supporters that we will not issue any certificate to any candidate who has not fairly won the nomination. We will conduct a free, fair, credible and transparent nominations on January 17,” said Kaparo.

Fair nominations

While addressing a Press briefing at the party headquarters in Nairobi yesterday, the URP chairman dispelled fears that there were preffered candidates and urged all aspirants to compete and win the nominations through a democratic process.

Flanked by Ruto, Kaparo reiterated that the party would not accept the outcome of nominations marred by violence or irregularities.

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He warned that the party will take stern action, including disqualifying any candidate engaged in violence and incitement, and urged all Jubilee coalition supporters to maintain peace during the process.

“We will not accept as a party to issue any certificate to any candidate where there is still dispute. We will resolve all the disputes first before we issue a candidate with a certificate. We must ensure that those who win, win fairly,” said Kaparo.

The former House Speaker also announced that all disputes arising from the nomination will be heard and addressed in all counties and constituencies within four days after the date of nomination.

URP councilors party defection