Kiambaa by-election: Jubilee announces nomination date

Jubilee Party Secretary-General Raphael Tuju at Jubilee Headquarters, Nairobi. [Boniface Okendo,Standard]

The ruling Jubilee Party will next week Saturday conduct nomination to pick a candidate for the Kiambaa by-election after five aspirants declared interest in the race.

Party Secretary-General (SG) Raphael Tuju said the said aspirants have applied to run on the party ticket in the poll occasioned by the death of MP Paul Koinange.

Three of the five aspirants are members of the Koinange family, putting the ruling party in a political dilemma.

June Koinange, the widow to the late MP, Lenah Koinange, daughter of former Cabinet Minister Mbiyu Koinange and her niece Damaris Wambui have declared interest in the seat.

The ruling party has traditionally backed relatives of deceased politicians in by-elections occasioned by death, at least going by recent past mini-polls.

In Garissa, Jubilee backed Abdulkadir Mohamed Haji following the demise of his father Yusuf Haji while in Juja, Susan Njeri Waititu, the widow of Francis Munyua alias Wakapee, will fly the Jubilee Party flag for the by-elections slated for May 18.

The party also sponsored Lucy Ng'endo Chomba, the widow of the late Huruma Ward MCA Peter Chomba to inherit the seat.

Tuju said that the party will conduct nominations to pick the most popular candidate among the five to represent the constituency for the remaining one year.

“I don’t think we will have any problem because what we will do is a credible nomination process. We want to assure all the aspirants that we will do a credible process in identifying the right candidate,” said Tuju.

“Our interest is the electorate, whom do they want. We have no bias and emotions attached to the process,” he added.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has set July 15 as the date for the Kiambaa by-election.

June, who unsuccessfully contested for Kiambu Woman Representative in 2013 and 2017, said she was prevailed upon by the people and opinion leaders to run.

She is banking on grassroots networks and involvement in various projects to support locals to clinch the Jubilee ticket.

“There have been many discussions in Kiambaa that have brought together voters as well as thought and opinion leaders. The people have agreed that they need a strong personality to complete projects started and initiated by the late Hon. Paul Koinange’’ said June.

She said voters should be allowed to pick the best candidate without them being labelled as members of the Koinange family.

“People should not look at us as the Koinange family. There is also no need to convince or prevail upon others to drop their bid. Our family is big and those who see themselves as leaders should be allowed to run. Let the people decide at the ballot,” she explained.

The family is said to have settled on Lenah to vie for the seat on Jubilee Party ticket.

Leonard Karuga, the family spokesperson, said that at least 10 members of the family had shown interest to in the parliamentary race but agreed to back Lenah.

But June said her declaration for the seat came late as she was still mourning her late husband, adding that the decision to vie was triggered by “pressure from family members, Kiambaa residents, voters pressure, national agenda and prayerful considerations.”