NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 2 – “We are going for nothing short of a victory in Mathare” was the warning from the Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD) to its rivals as it unveiled Steven Kariuki as the sole candidate in the upcoming Mathare Constituency by-election.
Speaking after a consultative meeting with other aspirants from the coalition’s affiliate parties, CORD Principal and Senate Minority Leader Moses Wetangula said the coalition wants to avoid a scenario of losing the seat if they failed to put up a united front.
“We have agreed today that as and when the IEBC (Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission) sets the date of the by-election in Mathare, we have one CORD candidate who is Steven Kariuki,” he said.
Wetangula, who is also the FORD-Kenya Party Leader explained that an assessment of the coalition’s performance in the March 2013 polls revealed that the Minority Coalition lost 14 out 17 parliamentary seats in Nairobi due to its disjointed campaigns.
“In March 2013, we had a Ford-Kenya candidate, we had an ODM candidate; we had a Wiper candidate… all of them aggregated a victory. Indeed in Nairobi out of the 17 constituencies, the CORD aggregate votes gave us victories in 14 constituencies but because we went in a disjointed and disorganised manner we lost in most,” he said.
“We must show unity of purpose. No affiliate party will henceforth be allowed to field a candidate in competition to the one agreed because we will be going out as CORD Coalition,” added Machakos County Senator Johnson Muthama.
The meeting was attended by ODM Joint Secretary to the Transitional Interim Executive Committee (TIEC) and Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba, Nairobi Deputy Governor Jonathan Mueke, Ruaraka MP Tom Kajwang and former Madaraka MP Rueben Ndolo.
The Court of Appeal nullified the election of The National Alliance’s (TNA) George Wanjohi two weeks ago and ordered for a fresh election in Mathare following a petition by Kariuki.
Namwamba has been vocal in urging the Orange Party to give direct nomination to Kariuki, arguing that he is the one who won the electoral petition that saw the nullification of Wanjohi’s victory of March 2013.
However, ODM’s Anthony Oluoch and Wiper Democratic Movement Party’s Joseph Mbai who attended the meeting later addressed a press conference to protest the decision to hand Kariuki a direct nomination.
“We are particularly more concerned with circumstances leading to this decision; I was called at the last minute at the meeting by the Senate Minority Leader’s office only to be told of a decision that had already been made,” Oluoch claimed.
Oluoch, who vied in last year’s poll on a Ford-K ticket, recently led a protest to the ODM Headquarters to demand party nominations.
“I am sure that my supporters and my constituents would like to know which way forward. We shall be communicating this in the next few days after consultation with my supporters,” he said.
ODM Mathare Branch leaders allied to Oluoch criticised Namwamba for going against his pledge of changing the handling of party nominations and is now perpetuating boardroom deals to institute leaders on the electorate.
“What is the difference between Nyong’o and Ababu?” Oluoch posed, “Ababu promised to end the culture of direct nomination when he said that it has been the Achilles heel in ODM winning any election.”