Campaigns to fill Kenya’s nine slots in the East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA) have intensified.
And MPs have less than a week to decide who among the over 20 shortlisted nominees will join the regional parliament.
Members of the National Assembly and Senate will next Wednesday vote to determine who among 27 candidates nominated by Jubilee and the National Super Alliance (NASA) will represent the country in the Arusha-based assembly.
Candidates eyeing the slots are leaving nothing to a chance as they make last-ditch efforts to woo the 349 MPs and 67 senators who are eligible to vote.
Among those who will be battling out with the big names for the nine EALA posts is university lecturer Joe Muriuki, the first Kenyan to go public about his HIV-Aids status 30 years ago.
Dr Muriuki, nominated by Jubilee Party and among candidates who were yesterday lobbying MPs for support, has been living with the virus for 33 years.
He told The Standard that he would take his anti-Aids crusade to EALA, if he sails through the elections next week.
“It is sad that for over four decades since the epidemic was discovered, in Kenya and other East African countries, treatment and management for the condition is reliant on donor funds. I intend to push for an integrated approach to HIV and Aids in the region if I join Eala,” he pledged.
Muriuki, an Epidemiology lecturer at Mt Kenya University, explained it was not right for the millions of people living with the virus in the region to be dependent on the philanthropy of a few people and institutions from the West.
“I will seek to bring an end the current disjointed interventions in the war against HIV and Aids. A regional approach and a harmonised policy is the only sure way of ending the epidemic,” he said.
Muriuki explained local manufacture of anti-retroviral drugs can be a reality if EALA member states pool their resources together.
Jubilee has 15 nominees among them Dr Muriuki for the five slots it has been allocated in the assembly. NASA on the other hand selected 12 nominees for four positions.
Others on the Jubilee final list are former Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution chairman Charles Nyachae, former MPs Mpuru Aburi (Tigania East), Wanjiku Muia (Nyandarua), Adan Nooru (Mandera North), Abdulaziz Farah (Mandera East) and Simon Mbugua (Kamukunji).
Former National Assembly Clerk Justin Bundi, Jubilee Party Director Florence Jematiah, renown Bishop Jackson Kosgei, Irene Cherop Masit, Elizabeth Wangui, Dorice Aburi, Wanjiru Karanja and Julie Waweru are also on the Jubilee shortlist.
Yesterday, Mr Aburi was among the candidates who were seen lobbying MPs.
Oburu Odinga, a former nominated MP and elder brother to NASA chief Raila Odinga, and Kennedy Musyoka, who is Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka's son and NASA Chief Executive Norman Magaya, are among the big guns in the line-up presented by the Opposition.
Other notable individuals in the NASA list by are ex-MPs Fatuma Ibrahim (Wajir), Abdikadir Aden (Mbalambala) and Abubakar Zain (EALA). Justus Onsongo Jane Marwa, Beth Syengo, Loy Mwandia, Angela Munyasya and Winfred Mutua complete the NASA line-up.