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Blamegame takes centrestage in Jubilee parties over Kajiado Central by-election defeat

POLITICS
By Geoffrey Mosoku | March 22nd 2015

JAP is now plagued by blame games over the by-election loss. When the seat fell vacant, JAP luminaries were determined to win it from ODM.

As soon as Nkaiserry was nominated Cabinet Secretary, the battle to succeed him for the seat began in earnest, with the initial focus being on TNA/JAP primaries.

A meeting between the aspirants and Kajiado leaders was convened at State House on January 15, where they were warned not to rally behind an unpopular candidate. The aspirants also pledged they would back the eventual winner. They called for a free and fair nomination.

However, when the nomination exercise started, some MPs and officials bragged they would have one of the ‘original members’ of the party bag the nomination however unpopular he was. They supported Tutui with money and other resources and he won narrowly over Memusi, who then decamped to ODM.

Despite the politicians — who were from outside the constituency — assuring the President and his deputy that the candidate would win, and that free and fair nominations were undertaken, concerns quickly arose over the ability of the candidate to capture the seat.

Other quarters observed that by picking a weak candidate, the politicians were preparing ground for a blame game, especially to discredit Nkaissery as having not delivered.

The accusations indicate the newly formed party lost to ODM due to a cocktail of factors, some of which were mainly internal.

Murathe said the by-election had several dynamics some which are internal that cost them what could have become their first seat.

“There issues of Narok wrangles which spilled over to Kajiado, the issue of picking our candidate, the people who spearheaded the campaigns etc,” Murathe added.

He said JAP secretariat’s only role was to conduct the nomination exercise and give the certificate to the candidate who won while the politicians took over the campaigns.

In the frontline

Leader of Majority Aden Duale, Senators Charles Keter, Mike Sonko and MPs Jamleck Kamau, Moses Sakuda and Katoo ole Metito were among those in the frontline. President Uhuru Kenyatta campaigned for Tutui once while his deputy William Ruto graced the campaigns twice. A team led by Metito, Women Rep Mary Senata and Taraiya Kores (who failed in his bid for governorship) led the campaigns while another team that comprised Sakuda, Senator Mositet, Peris Tobiko and Joseph Manje largely kept off.

JAP officials have been accused of presenting a weak candidate and mishandling the campaigns, especially given the magnitude of resources mobilised for the exercise. “Ours was to present the winner of the nomination with the certificate. If our opponents (ODM) infiltrated us to ensure a weak candidate got our ticket, that was too unfortunate,” Murathe said.

Sakaja said the outcome has raised key questions which must be answered.

“Was JAP prepared in terms of organised campaigns from the onset? Was JAP structured enough to mount a serious influence among the electorate to an election so soon?” posed Sakaja. He instead called for serious soul searching among the Jubilee leadership, stressing the entire process was poorly handled.

“We need to go back to the drawing board and come up with a serious strategy for 2017. We need a political re-organisation,” suggested Sakaja, who was absent in the Kajiado campaigns after the JAP leadership took over the exercise from TNA and URP.

Ole Sakuda (Kajiado West) admitted that Tutui was a difficult candidate to sell, a position also supported by Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills). “He was not accessible and was not in touch with the people. The youth factor also played against us,” said Sakuda. Keter continued, “The JAP candidate was unpopular despite the massive campaign we had rolled out.” The two legislators affirmed that the poor handling of the nomination exercise cost the party the Kajiado central seat.

“The primaries were not handled well, giving CORD an opportunity to spread propaganda against JAP. CORD took advantage of the flawed nominations to convince the electorate that it was not a free and fair exercise and that Memusi was rigged out despite being the people’s choice,” said Sakuda. He noted Memusi was a candidate of two legislators from the county, but the Jubilee leadership was deceived that Tutui was the better candidate and therefore Jamleck Kamau (Kigumo) and Senator Keter (Kericho) were tasked with spearheading the campaigns.

“This act of deceit did not go well with the electorate. They were mad and decided to retaliate by supporting a different candidate fronted by the opposition. This further complicated the issue, when instead of URP and TNA individual parties’ campaigns, JAP new officials steered the process,” said the Kajiado West MP.

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