It is not yet a done deal for Jubilee Party and ODM in the Nairobi governor race, as it emerged that parties still have a chance to field candidates.
The Saturday Standard has learnt that there is still a window for other political parties to give the direct nomination to candidates, a development that is likely to muddy the race and spoil the chances for the two dominant political outfits to fill the post unchallenged.
Parties that will not hold primaries have up to January 11 to present names of candidates to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
While President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party is set to conduct primaries for its five aspirants before January 11 in compliance with the IEBC Gazette notice, Raila’s party has opted out, seeking to back the former’s candidate.
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In the event Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper, Musalia Mudavadi’s ANC and Senator Moses Wetang’ula’s Ford Kenya give direct tickets to their candidates, this could complicate the arithmetic for Jubilee and ODM, which played a key role in sending Governor Mike Sonko home.
In the Jubilee nominations, former Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru will battle it out with businesswoman Anges Kagure, Betty Adera, Alex Kemboi and Habib Kongo.
Deputy President William Ruto has been non-committal about Nairobi. The DP backed independent candidate Feisal Bader who floored ODM’s Omar Boga in the recently concluded Msambweni Constituency by-election.
However, Ruto’s allies yesterday told the Saturday Standard that the new United Democratic Alliance (UDA), linked with the DP, will field former assistant minister Margaret Wanjiru for the seat.
“The DP will support Bishop Wanjiru. She has been working closely with us and is a member of the hustler nation. She will contest on our new party,” said a legislator, who is a close ally of the DP.
Wanjiru, however, is yet to publicly declare her party of choice. She only said she will vie on a fringe party and that she would not back down, as she had all it takes to represent city residents.
The UDA is an affiliate of Jubilee under the chairmanship of former Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama, a close ally of the DP.
“UDA party has been born and I am humbled to be part of its leadership. I shall make our formal statement to the media houses and interested parties on UDA after January 7,” said Muthama.
“President Kenyatta and Ruto were elected in office under JP, therefore the Constitution does not allow one to be a member of two political parties. What this means is that we will not shy away from wooing the two and other elected/aspiring political leaders to join UDA.”
If the other parties unveil stronger candidates and Waweru clinches the JP ticket in the primaries, he could face a stiff competition in the February 18 by-election, even with the ODM backing.
“Each political party intending to participate in the by-election shall submit the names of the persons contesting in a party primary and the date of the party primary on or before Monday, 28th December, 2020,” the IEBC tweeted.
To add to the list, constitutional lawyer Ekuro Aukot’s party Thirdway Alliance has also fronted Canada-based lawyer Miguna Miguna to run for the seat.
“Political parties intending to present candidates in this election through direct nominations shall submit the list of persons nominated to the commission on or before Monday, January 11,” reads the Gazette Notice by IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati.
Yesterday, Thirdway Alliance Secretary General Fredrick Okango told the Saturday Standard that they had already notified the IEBC chair of their candidate and will submit the name officially before the deadline.
“Our candidate is a direct nominee. We still have upto the 11th to forward the name,” said Okango.
Chebukati is expected to publish the names of the aspirants to contest in the party primaries on Monday after the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) did a background check on them, as well as the 14 independent candidates, including impeached Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu.
Denise Kodhe, the founder chairman of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which formed the first coalition of opposition political parties in 2002 to form retired President Mwai Kibaki’s NARC government, is also in the race.
Kodhe, a journalist and the current party’s secretary general, said he is cut out for Nairobi. He relies on the rich history of the party to woo voters.
“The ship has left the harbour. Nairobians interested in joining the journey to prosperity should join me and not watch in dismay as we embark on the same,” he said.
Kenya Social Congress’s Eric Mokua Arita and former Nairobi Town Clerk Philip Kisia of People’s Empowerment Party are also interested in the seat but are yet to declare their parties. Kisia officially resigned from Jubilee Party on December 28 in a letter to Secretary General Raphael Tuju and copied to Registrar of Political Parties Ann Nderitu.
He said his job in the past speaks for itself, especially when he oversaw the Nairobi regeneration when chairing the then Nairobi Central Business District Association.