NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 21 – Cracks are emerging within the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) after Ford-Kenya rejected a proposal to have ODM and Wiper parties to jointly field candidates for nominations under the coalition.
Ford-Kenya through Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale, who is also its Deputy Party Leader, said they support the registration of CORD as a party on condition that all the three parties should be allowed to field their candidates in order to curb a possible fallout among disgruntled competitors for the Coalition ticket.
He said his party’s proposal will help the Coalition’s supporters to come out in large numbers and vote for Cord’s presidential flag bearer.
However, CORD management Committee Co-chairs Senators Johnson Muthama (Machakos) and James Orengo (Siaya) insisted that the Coalition will field one candidate in all elective positions, but will carry out joint nominations.
Orengo said this would enable the opposition coalition to field strong and credible candidates in next year’s elections, following the queue from Jubilee which was launched last week having taken in several parties.
“We are not going to be foolish and to be misled, if you realised in the last election, CORD by all accounts would have taken at least 12 of the 17 seats in Nairobi but because of affiliate parties sponsoring parallel candidates we lost some of the seats and we are not going to commit the same mistakes after all you do this things to gain political seats and political power,” Orengo explained.
He said the Coalition is careful “this time not to lose out in any elective position over fielding of different candidates as witnessed in the 2013 general elections.”
“What we must state and emphasise is that we are not going to repeat the mistakes we did in 2013 general elections,” Orengo said.
Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama said the process of registering CORD as a party had commenced.
He reaffirmed that ODM, Wiper and Ford-Kenya are in the process of setting up a joint National Elections Board to conduct a joint nomination for its candidates to give the coalition a head-start against Jubilee.
Khalwale on his part argued that a similar framework was employed in 2002, when several parties joined to form the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC), which sprang Mwai Kibaki to the presidency.
But Ford Kenya is proposing that the Coalition reserves a negotiated position within CORD’s anticipated government for the third co-principal—including his party’s share in all government appointments
He explained that the move is aimed at accommodating the presidential aspirant who would come third in CORD’s nominations.
“The options are there you can name any Cabinet Secretary, you can give them the name of the Prime Minister, Chief Minister or Senior Minister without having to amend the constitution. What will be critical is that, that so called special position will be accompanied by responsibilities that clearly indicate this is a minister heads and shoulders above the rest in the Cabinet,” the Kakamega Senator said.
Khalwale also called for joint nominations within CORD except in Nairobi County where, he said, all the three parties should be allowed to field their candidates in order to boost their chances of clinching more seats.
“No community can claim to own Nairobi and therefore, our analysts have pointed out to us that if the three parties are allowed to field candidates in all the elective positions, then we will comfortably win 14 out of 17 seats in Nairobi County.
Wiper proposed the registration of CORD as a party and joint nominations to protect votes.
Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga has said he supports his CORD co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka’s proposal to jointly field candidates for nominations under the coalition.
Wetang’ula has in the past rallied calls for the coalition to allow affiliate parties field individual candidates in their strongholds.