, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 22 – Deputy President William Ruto on Friday allayed fears of resurgence in high-octane politicking after the ruling party named a candidate for the upcoming Wajir West parliamentary by-election.
Ruto, who presented former Wajir West lawmaker Mohamed Kolosh with a Jubilee Party ticket to defend the seat in a mini-ballot set for April 25, said the governing party was committed to peaceful campaigns devoid of name-calling.
Kolosh decamped from Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Party (ODM) which had initially sponsored him to Parliament.
“We want a peaceful election. We’re committed as a party to a peaceful, decent election devoid of name-calling and abuses,” he said.
The DP said the campaign for the Wajir West parliamentary seat will be centered on Jubilee Party’s commitment to development.
“Our focus and that of our candidate will be on the policies of the Jubilee Administration and the ideas we have to take the country forward and less of other issues that have ordinarily inform elections in the past,” said Ruto.
Kolosh, a first-time lawmaker who decamped after his victory in the 2017 parliamentary election was nullified by the Supreme Court last month, said he was optimistic that he would retain the seat.
The legislator, who lost his seat on January 18 following a successful petition by Abdirahman Ibrahim of the Kenya African National Union (KANU), said his election was nullified because the poll agency mishandled the polling exercise.
“In the spirit of democracy we’re going to have very healthy competition. Let my competitors read the mood on the ground. We’ll win this seat,” he said.
In its decision nullifying the Wajir West election, the Supreme Court cited irregularities in a number of polling centres including Qara.
Justice Francis Tuiyot of the High Court had in a ruling rendered in March found results in two polling stations were manipulated in a deliberate attempt to suppress the will of voters.
In Qara, for instance, the court found the number of votes cast to have exceeded 162 – the number of registered voters in at the station.
The Court of Appeal later overturned the High Court decision, restoring Kolosh’s win, a judgment that KANU’s Ibrahim successfully challenged at the Supreme Court.
ODM has named Mohammed Yussuf Elmi its candidate for the Wajir West parliamentary by-election setting the stage for a bruising battle between politicians allied to Ruto and those pledging allegiance to Odinga.
The Wajir mini-poll is the first election to be contested by Jubilee and ODM post the March 9, 2018, truce between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Odinga following months of political tension.