Raila changes tack to avoid fallout over nominations

ODM leader Raila Odinga in Maralal town in Samburu County. [Emmanuel Wanson, Standard]

ODM leader Raila Odinga has softened his stance on zoning and joint nominations to avoid a fallout that has the potential of causing voter apathy especially in the presidential race.

It has emerged that Raila’s strategists are toying with the idea of having the more than 15 political parties backing his presidential candidature to field candidates independently.

Joint tickets will only be considered in areas they stand to lose by fielding multiple candidates. Already, various parties have kicked off individual preparations for party nominations scheduled by April 22. The new position taken by Azimio La Umoja camp became clear yesterday when Raila told Wajir residents to elect their next representatives from among the Azimio affiliate parties.

He introduced aspirants who will vie on ODM, Jubilee, Kanu and United Democratic Movement (UDM) tickets. UDM is associated with Mandera Governor Ali Roba.

The changes have been triggered after protests by small parties backing Azimio, as well as a provision allowing losers in the primaries to run as independent candidates. 

The small parties had indicated they will back the Azimio presidential candidate but would field candidates for other seats.

“There is general consensus that Azimio partners field candidates. There is a feeling that this will benefit the presidential candidate because supporters of those candidates will turn up to vote,” said a top official within the campaign team.

But there is a counter argument that the coalition risks winning the presidency with minority members in county assemblies and Parliament.

Raila, who was speaking at Orahey Grounds in Wajir town, assured voters that they will have a free hand to pick their leaders from among Azimio affiliates. “There are many candidates here who want various seats. We want them elected under Azimio parties. We don't want ‘madoadoa’.

Jubilee Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni said the coalition will deploy various methods to guarantee a win in the presidential race. "We will use the system that will guarantee the best results and which is the most fair and inclusive."

ODM chairman John Mbadi said individual parties were free to begin their preparations so that in the event there is no agreement for joint ticket, they can proceed with separate primaries.

Head of Raila's campaign team Governor Ndiritu Muriithi said joint primaries still remain the coalition's ideal method of picking candidates.

UDM Secretary General David Ohito said the party will campaign for Raila but field candidates for other seats.


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