NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 4 – The Wiper Democratic Movement will unveil its candidate for the Makueni Senate by-election at a press briefing on Wednesday.
Wiper party chairman and Kitui Senator David Musila told Capital FM News that the party had already settled on the candidate following interviews held on Monday.
“The IEBC (Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission) extended the deadline for candidate selection from June 3 to June 5 and so the D-day is tomorrow,” Musila said.
Wiper party leader and former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka defended their selection saying the candidate was not handpicked but selected by a panel chaired by Musila; “the party wanted to be transparent,” he said.
The candidate, Musyoka said, exemplified integrity, party ideals and would carry on the development agenda the late Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo was working toward.
“We must not allow ourselves to be cheated and elect a leader who will replace Mutula as the Makueni Senator to come from a party other than Wiper Democratic Movement. The voters must be wise and choose wisely during this by-election,” he said.
The Makueni Senate Seat was declared vacant by Senate Speaker Ekwe Ethuro on May 13 following the death of Kilonzo on April 27, less than a month after the late senator sworn into office.
Those interested in running for the seat on a Wiper ticket were invited to submit their applications together with a fee of Sh150,000 by close of business on May 31, “to ensure only serious candidates apply,” Musila defending the fee.
The shortlisted applicants were then interviewed by a panel composed of Wiper officials on Monday and a candidate selected from the group.
“We were unable to conduct primaries on account of the tight timelines the IEBC gazetted,” Musila said by way of explanation.
IEBC Communication Manager Tabitha Mutemi defended the gazetted timelines to Capital FM News, explaining that the commission was simply acting within the confines of the law.
Section 13 (3) of the Election Act reads: “The commission shall by notice in the prescribed form, specify the day or days upon which political parties shall nominate candidates to contest in a presidential, parliamentary or county election in accordance with its constitution or rules, which shall not be more than twenty-one days after the date of publication of such notice.”
The IEBC has given political parties until June 5 to, “finalise the nominations and determine intra-party disputes arising from the nomination of its candidate(s).”
Thereafter, the commission will resolve any outstanding disputes within seven days of their submission.
Independent candidates are also expected to submit their symbols to the IEBC by June 5, some 21 days before the IEBC will commence the exercise of issuing nomination certificates.
“The days for the nomination of political parties’ candidates and Independent candidates for the by-election will be on June 26 and 27 and nomination papers shall be delivered by candidates to the County Returning Officer (CRO) between 8am and 4pm in the afternoon,” a gazette notice by IEBC Chairman Issack Hassan reads.
Parties are also required to submit the names of their chief agents on or before July 9 in preparation for the July 22 by-election.
Campaigns will run for three weeks between July 1 and July 21 in the six constituencies of Mbooni, Makueni, Kilome, Kaiti, Kibwezi East and Kibwezi West in Makueni County.
Contestants will only be allowed to carry out their campaigns between 7am and 6pm and will not be permitted to participate in public fundraising.
Section 26 of the Election Act states: ” (1) A person who directly or indirectly participates in any manner in any public fundraising or harambee within eight months preceding a general election or during an election period, in any other case, shall be disqualified from contesting in the election held during that election year or election period.”
It however continues to read: “(2) Subsection (1) shall not apply to a fundraising for a person who is contesting an election under this Act or to a fundraising for a political party.”
In the March 4 general election, Kilonzo stood against Harun Mwau on a PICK ticket, Muthoka Katumo as an independent candidate and Bernard Mulwa on a NARC ticket before emerging victorious.
Musyoka has expressed confidence the Wiper party will retain the Makueni Senate seat following the July 22 by-election.
“We want to be ready as the party which will be defending that seat and I can assure you we are going to win that seat big time in honour of the late Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo,” he said.