NAIROBI, May 22 – Campaigns for the upcoming by-elections are in top gear with the battle for party tickets taking shape ahead of the May 24 nominations deadline.
The Party of National Unity (PNU), which had previously shown signs of wrangles seemed to be settling down on Wednesday with the Orange Democratic Movement – Kenya (ODM-K) saying it would not be fielding parliamentary candidates in the June 11 by-elections.
Vice President and ODM K leader Kalonzo Musyoka said they would instead support the candidate chosen by the PNU coalition.
“In Embakasi realistically our candidate was number three so the ODM-K summit took a decision on how to support one of coalition partner’s candidates. That’s the way to do business,” Musyoka said.
Speaking at his Jogoo House office Musyoka however said ODM-K would be fielding candidates at the local authority level.
Elsewhere NARK-Kenya Secretary General Danson Mungatana announced that his party would sponsor individual candidates in areas they enjoy popularity.
“We are not fighting PNU or any other party; we are just saying in those constituencies our candidates have said they want NARK Kenya, we will help them win. Where they want to be cleared through PNU we will do that,” he said.
He spoke at the party headquarters where he presented certificates to candidates for local authority posts under the party. The party, he said, would be fielding candidates in all the civic wards.
Two weeks ago FORD Kenya, another PNU affiliate, indicated that it would be going it alone in the contest.
The PNU Coalition is yet to come clear on its list of nominees or mode of selection for its candidates.
Five constituencies namely Ainamoi, Emuhaya, Kilgoris, Wajir North and Embakasi and 53 civic seats are up for grabs.
ODM on Monday announced that it would on Friday hold party nominations for three constituencies: Emuhaya, Ainamoi and Embakasi.
No nominations will take place in Kilgoris since there is only one ODM candidate, whereas in Wajir North it would be a runoff between the ODM and PNU candidates who tied during last year’s General Election.
The three constituencies have a total of 30 candidates, 10 from each constituency.
Ainamoi and Embakasi constituencies fell vacant following the deaths of David Kimutai Too and Mugabe Were respectively, and the Emuhaya seat was left open when their former representative Kenneth Marende was elected as the Speaker of the National Assembly.
The Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) nullified results from Kilgoris, Wajir North and Kamukunji constituencies due to claims of irregularities.
However, the fate of Kamukunji has not yet been determined by the High Court where the PNU candidate Simon Ng’ang’a Mbugua moved to block the ECK from holding a by-election there, claiming that he had won.
ECK would be receiving papers from the nominated candidates on May 26th and 27th.
The elections will be a litmus test for the coalition government coming barely three months after its institution. Many will be keen to see the role senior members of the government will play in the campaigns.
The elections also come at a time when the ECK is facing a credibility crisis due to discrepancies in last year’s poll.