Kenya’s main political parties are racing against time to conduct party primaries within one-month window but are grappling with competition and suspicions from within.
Both the ruling Jubilee Party (JP) and the National Super Alliance (Nasa), are grappling with issues of whether they have the capacity to hold free and fair nominations.
According to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) rules, political parties have between April 13 and 26 to conduct their nominations, after which they will be given a 30-day grace period until May 26, to solve any disputes arising from the nominations.
In Nasa, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), Wiper Democratic Movement (WDM), Amani National Congress (ANC) and Ford Kenya, are currently at a crossroads on how to push for a single presidential candidate and also maintain the identity of their parties where each one of them is seeking to get more seats in parliament for future bargains.
The leaders; Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetangula are torn between presenting a single presidential candidate and the prospects of their parties losing identity.
However, the Jubilee Party — that collapsed 12 parties into one entity last year — is also facing difficulties in nominations as a number of aspirants defect to smaller parties out of fear that President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto, have preferred candidates at various levels.
Key beneficiaries, who are supporting the re-election of President Kenyatta include Party of National Unity led by Meru Governor Peter Munya and Maendeleo Chap Chap, led by Machakos Governor, Dr Alfred Mutua.
In Nasa with three parties; WDP, ANC and Ford Kenya having ruled out joint nominations at the gubernatorial, parliamentary and women representative seats, the opposition is now grappling with the danger that they could lose more seats to Jubilee since they will be competing against each other, thus dividing the votes. ODM is the only party in Nasa that is pushing for joint nominations.
Kalonzo Musyoka in an interview with The EastAfrican [ READ: My word is my bond, I’m in opposition alliance says Wiper leader] pointed out that the challenge is that unlike the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) that united the opposition in 2002, Nasa is not a registered political party and affiliate members must continue to strengthen their parties.