The battle lines for the 2017 general elections are already drawn. The hot contests will no longer be between Jubilee and Cord coalitions, but between Jubilee which has morphed into a political party and the nascent National Super Alliance (NASA).
It goes without saying that the stakes are extremely high and they always get higher and higher each electioneering year for the biggest and most powerful office of the land – the Office of the Presidency.
The most critical phase of the electioneering process begins with the nominations of competitors for each and every elective post right from the Presidency all the way through the Senatorial, gubernatorial, Members of Parliament (MPs) to the grassroots posts of Members of the County Assemblies (MCAs).
At the national level for the next year’s general elections, the Jubilee which in essence is currently the party in power is not having any headaches in nominating its presidential candidate or the party’s flag bearer for the Presidency because it is already a forgone conclusion that President Uhuru Kenyatta will be defending his position on that party’s ticket without opposition at the nomination level.
If there is any opposition to challenge him at that level (party nomination) before going to the ballot box, it is yet to be seen – therefore leaving the road clear for President Kenyatta to fight it out at the ballot box for a second term in office with candidates drawn or nominated to vie for that post from the opposition parties, particularly NASA which poses the biggest threat.
With the transformation from a coalition group to a Jubilee political party, there have been defections of politicians who were disgruntled that their chances of getting nominated by the party to vie for various seats at the next year’s general elections were dismal.
However, the NASA coalition is facing the greatest challenges in agreeing on whom they are going to nominate as the coalitions flag bearer to fight it out with President Kenyatta. The whole equation is compounded by the fact that in this coalition there are three giants each with his own political party and interested in going to fight it out at the ballot box to get rid of Uhuru and his running mate Deputy President William Ruto.
The principal players in this nascent Alliance are ODM’s leader Raila Odinga, Amani National Congress (ANC) leader and NASA architect Musalia Mudavadi, Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka and Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetangula – all of whom have declared they are going to gun for the Presidency.
This is a state of affairs that has since seen President Kenyatta scoffing at their NASA alliance claiming his Jubilee coalition will trounce them at next year’s general elections because they (NASA) are still fighting each other on whom they are going to nominate to face him at the ballot for the Presidency. The NASA alliance is expected to be composed of ANC, ODM, Wiper and Ford Kenya political parties.
However the most critical question comes at the political parties’ primaries to nominate their candidates to fight it out for the senate, gubernatorial, parliamentary, and County Assemblies’ seats – because this where outright corruption, widespread briberies and widespread abuse of the process takes place hence the electorate being denied its democratic and constitutional rights to elect their candidates of choice.
It is indeed a matter of fact that vicious battle lines have already been drawn for the fights for nominations to vie for these positions at the ballot box during next year’s general elections in Jubilee and the nascent NASA alliance particularly for the powerful and lucrative gubernatorial positions with NASA having an added advantage of making nominations at the affiliate political parties’ levels – Jubilee having dissolved its parent parties to form a political party.
The biggest issue being the so called “direct nomination” of candidates vying for various elective positions which inevitably opens room for many aspirants for these positions resorting to use their financial might to buy the party nominations certificates to be assured of being able to fight it out with other aspirants representing other political parties at the ballot box.
With the political parties’ members denied to exercise their democratic and constitutional rights to elect their preferred candidates at the nomination level and worthy aspirants denied their chances to excel through a democratic nomination process automatically leads to a vicious backlash at the ballot box general elections as voters vote in protest and worthy aspirants defect to other political parties to get or even buy nomination certificates to be on the ballot papers as seen in the past before a bill restraining them was signed by President Uhuru.
Indeed already the vicious battles for nominations at party level to vie for these positions are already exhibiting themselves right from the Jubilee party, a former coalition of United Republican Party (URP) and The National Alliance (TNA) in its former Eastern province stronghold for the Meru Governorship for instance between Senator Kiraitu Murungi and Governor Peter Munya who refused to join Jubilee Party but instead opted to stick to PNU.
In the former Central province the same imbroglio is being played out in Kiambu’s gubernatorial job with sitting embattled Governor William Kabogo and neighbouring Murang’a County equally embattled sitting Governor Mwangi Wa Iria.
The story does not stop there in areas perceived to be Jubilee’s stronghold as in Rift Valley the Bomet County Governor Isaack Rutto has for a long time been a thorn in the flesh of DP William Ruto and on seeing his chances to effectively defend his seat on a Jubilee ticket scuttled formed his own political party to assure him nomination.
Within the emerging NASA coalition trouble has been fermenting for some time now in the ODM wing of the coalition right from the national office to the county levels. The national level having seen the resignations of two of its top officials former Vice-Chairman Paul Otuoma and Secretary General Ababu Namwamba with party nominations being one of the most critical issues at the centre of the divide with party leader Raila Odinga.
Both politicians from Busia County’s neighbouring Funyula and Budalangi constituencies have their battle lines drawn with the county’s sitting Governor Sospeter Ojaamong who is arrogantly over confident of securing the ODM nomination to defend that seat because of his extremely close ties not only with Raila Odinga but generally with the Odinga’s family – he is sure of a direct nomination.
Yet Otuoma who has declared to vie for that seat on an ODM ticket is demanding for an open free and fair elections at the nomination level to choose the party’s flag bearer to vie for the County’s Governorship against other candidates who would have secured nomination from other political parties to vie for the same.
Ojaamong’s arrogance and over confidence to secure ODM’s nomination to defend his seat came out clearly during this year’s Jamuhuri day celebrations at Nambale Polytechnic when he had the audacity to endorse Nambale constituency’s legislator John Bunyasi to defend his seat on an ANC ticket – conveniently forgetting that they both have serious financial management queries they have not answered.
Ojaamon’g also forgets that during at the last general elections party nominations the candidates he corruptly influenced to acquire ODM nominations for Teso North and South constituencies’ seats were badly trounced by candidates he was opposed to who went for URP nomination certificates to secure both seats – Arthur Odera (North) and Mary Emaase (South) his home constituency.
The same scenario replicated itself a few months ago when some top ODM officials told the Nairobi ODM Governor Evans Kidero that he will not get the ODM nomination to defend his seat during next year’s general elections clearly intimating that there will be no party candidate’s nominations elections, but somebody will be given a direct nominations certificate thus triggering fierce protests from Kidero.
Indeed it is from this background that corrupted and compromised political parties’ primaries to nominate part flag bearers to vie for seats at various political levels in next year’s general elections is likely to trigger a massive backlash from the electorate who will go to cast their ballot in protest against political parties which may have manipulated their preferred candidates out of democratically securing nominations in a democratic process through the party members decisive votes.