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Confusion as IEBC, registrar differ on status of Kalonzo Musyoka's bid

By Josphat Thiong’o | May 21st 2022 | 3 min read
Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka when he named his running mate Andrew Sunkuli at SKM Command centre in Karen, Nairobi on May 16, 2022. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musokya's march to State House has hit headwinds, encumbered by his entanglement with the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition where he had sojourned in search of a running mate position.

Now, his presidential candidature, which was announced a week ago, now hangs in the balance even as his supporters try to convince him to abandon his State House dream and settle for the promised post of a Chief Cabinet Secretary.

The Standard on Saturday yesterday established that the office of the Registrar of Political Parties Anne Nderitu had written to the Wiper party seeking to know its status in the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition agreement. Of interest, sources revealed, was the fact that Kalonzo was yet to initiate the process to formally exit Azimio and may, therefore, not be cleared for the presidential contest.

“The registrar is seeking to know exactly where Kalonzo stands. Azimio One Kenya is a coalition party and Wiper is a member party,” said the source that sought anonymity.

According to the Political Parties Act, a party seeking to exit a coalition must do so through the mechanisms provided for by the coalition. In the case of Azimio One Kenya, any party seeking to leave must issue a 90-day notice after which the party organs are supposed to sit and determine whether to grant the request.

However, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) seems to be reading from a different script after it announced that it would clear Kalonzo to run for presidency once it established that he had he complied with the Elections Act.

Should the electoral agency move to clear Kalonzo, it will give impetus to his presidential bid  and bolster his chances of convincing the lower Eastern region, which has approximately 1.5 million registered voters – and other parts of the country - to vote for him.

 Kalonzo announced his exit from the Azimio One Kenya coalition party earlier this week after its flag bearer Raila Odinga picked Narc Kenya’s Martha Karua as his running mate - a position he had been jostling for.

This was also the day Raila announced that Kalonzo would be his Chief of Cabinet secretary (position that is yet to be created) in the event he won the presidency.

It later emerged that the Wiper party had submitted Kalonzo's name as its presidential flag-bearer to IEBC within the stipulated timelines.

To prove the seriousness of his bid, Kalonzo went ahead and named Andrew Sunkuli as his running mate in line with the IEBC regulations that presidential candidates do so by May 16.

His stab at the presidency, however, seemed to face hurdles and and a cloud of uncertainty because of the pact between constituent Azimio parties and one that dictates he cannot leave until three months after the elections.

For Kalonzo to proceed, he must now not only be given the nod by the Wafula Chebukati-led electoral agency but by Ms Nderitu upon ascertainment that his party lawfully severed ties with Azimio.

IEBC commissioner Abdi Guliye yesterday, however, said that the agency would clear Kalonzo once it is convinced he had complied with the Elections Act.

“We don't know about the Azimio coalition agreement. We are guided by the Elections Act and if he complies with the Elections Act we will clear him,” Guliye told The Standard on Saturday.

Kalonzo now has only nine days to the May 30 deadline issued by IEBC to have presented his nomination papers.

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