UDA targets 540,000 officials in grassroots elections

UDA Secretary general Cleophas Malala. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

The United Democratic Alliance (UDA) targets more than 500,000 officials in the upcoming grassroots elections.

UDA Secretary General Cleophas Malala said the party has adopted a unique arrangement that would see its 7.8 million members given a chance to elect their preferred officials right from the polling centre to the national level.

“We would like to expand the democratic space in our party by allowing members to elect their preferred officials,” said Malala during a morning show on a local radio station on Tuesday.

“Members will elect 20 officials at each polling centre and that will translate to 540,000 officials across the 27,000 polling centres. Officials will comprise four youths, women, and representatives of PWDs, religious leaders, professionals and farmers,” he added.

He said UDA plans to ensure successful elections with the highest number of officials elected.

“This is a strategy to win 2027 polls, if each one of the officials manages to get 20 voters on board, President William Ruto will have at least 11 million votes to start with on the polls day,” said Malala.

The UDA secretary general revealed that elected officials at polling centres will constitute an electoral college which will subsequently elect officials at the ward level.

“For instance, a ward that has 10 polling centres will have 200 elected officials who will then choose ward officials. Each one of the 1,450 wards will have 20 elected officials who will be mandated to elect officials at the constituency level,” he said.

The arrangement will see each constituency elect 20 officials.  “For instance, Kakamega county which has 12 constituencies will elect 240 officials who will be charged with the responsibility to elect UDA officials at the county level," he said.

Malala said the party will ensure that where a woman is elected chairperson, a man will be elected to deputise her right from the polling centre to the national level.

“That will help us address the issue of gender representation in the party leadership. All UDA leaders, be it MCAs, MPs, senators and governors are free to vie, however, we expect an MCA to contest at the ward level, MPs at the constituency level and governors at the county level so that party members at lower levels can have a chance to clinch leadership positions,” he said.

After members have elected county officials, the party will prepare for the National Delegates Conference (NDC) where top party officials save for the party leader position, will be elected.

He noted that the staggered party elections will kick off on April 26 in seven counties; Busia, Homa Bay, Narok, Garisa, Isiolo, Nairobi and West Pokot.

Malala said the party is contemplating pushing forward phase ll of UDA elections slated for June 22 to avoid a clash with the school calendar.

“It is likely to be pushed to August because 80 per cent of the polling centres are in schools and that could interfere with learning, however, that is subject to deliberations and the approval of UDAs National Executive Council,” he said.