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Nominations raise eyebrows ahead of poll

WEEKLY NOTE
By | August 29th 2010

By Stephen Makabila

In a move that will soon be out of step with the current electoral laws, the two major political parties - ODM and PNU - declined to carry out parliamentary nominations, opting instead to give their preferred candidates direct tickets.

Luckily for officials of the big two, they acted under the old dispensation before the new Constitution came into force on Friday.

Articles 81 and 88 of the new Constitution, give a free hand to the electoral body to regulate party nominations, including presiding over the polls.

While PNU has traditionally not carried out party primaries in by-elections so far held during the Tenth Parliament, ODM appears to have caught up with the ‘disease’. Initially, the Orange party carried out party nominations in Bomachoge, Emuhaya, Shinyalu, and South Mugirango constituencies.

PNU has issued a direct ticket in Juja, where former Government Chief Whip, George Thuo, will face William Kabogo in the September 20 by-election. Kabogo, also secured direct nomination from Narc-Kenya.

In Nairobi, PNU issued two more direct tickets in Starehe and Makadara constituencies for former Sports Minister Maina Kamanda and immediate former Makadara MP Dick Wathika.

Equally ODM issued direct tickets to Reuben Ndolo in Makadara, while Bishop Margaret Wanjiru was handed the Starehe ticket.

The direct tickets dished out by the two major parties, which are supposed to promote internal democracy, follows a similar trend in the Matuga by-election in July 12, where both parties avoided primaries.

However political observers caution the trend does not allow democracy. In Starehe and Makadara, Kamanda and Ndolo last week presented their nomination papers to the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC). That Wanjiru was issued with an ODM direct nomination even after going against the party to campaign against the new Constitution during the referendum is also surprising. Defending the direct nominations, ODM Electoral Board chairman head Joseph Misoi, said those given the tickets were loyal to the party.

Also in the race for the Starehe seat are David Wakah Ng’ang’a (National Patriotic Party), and Narc-Kenya’s Jackson Mwangi. Besides Thuo and Kabogo, other candidates cleared to battle it out for the Juja seat are Kazoo (Narc-Kenya), Alice Wambui (Kenya National Congress), Kamau Ngoima (National Alliance Party of Kenya), and Mary Kirika (ODM-Kenya).

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