New faces, independent candidates set to win in Kenya polls

Tuesday May 02 2017

People turned up in large numbers to vote in the primaries of the different political parties in Kenya, which saw many current leaders lose. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Fresh candidates and independents will dominate Kenya’s parliament, after the majority of sitting Members of the National Assembly and Senate were defeated in political party nominations last week. The exercise came to an end on April 30.

Several MPs and Members of County Assemblies allied to the two leading presidential candidates — President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga — have been eliminated in the early stages of the elections, forcing some to run as independent candidates.

Politicians who quit their parties have been streaming into Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) headquarters in Nairobi to register as independent candidates.

Women candidates

More women stand a chance of clinching key elective positions in the forthcoming General Election after winning tickets of dominant political parties in the primaries.

At least three women are on the verge of becoming governors while two got clearance to seek senatorial seats, which is an improvement from the last General Election where men won all the seats.


Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso and former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Ann Waiguru could become the first women governors in Kenya, having won Jubilee Party tickets in counties where winning the primaries almost guarantees winning in the General Election.

Former Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu, party leader of National Rainbow Coalition, already has a ticket to take on Kitui Governor Julius Malombe and Senator David Musila in the August 8 polls. Mr Malombe beat Mr Musila to win a Wiper Democratic Movement ticket but Mr Musila immediately resigned from the party and intends to run as an independent candidate.

Voters rejected several high-profile leaders within the inner circles of President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga.

In Jubilee, Kiambu Governor William Kabogo, Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau, Nyeri Senator Mutahi Kagwe and Runyenjes MP Cecily Mbarire all lost. In the larger Central Kenya region, the majority of MPs lost in the primaries. Only one out of six MPs in Nyeri County won in the primaries.

President Kenyatta, has, however, reached out to the losers, urging them to support those who won to help the party win the August polls.

Mr Odinga’s brother Oburu Oginga, who wields a lot of influence in ODM, awaits his fate after conflicting reports about his loss and then win in the Bondo parliamentary primaries.

Mr Odinga also lost Taita Taveta Governor John Mruttu while Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong, who until 2002 served as his personal assistant, is being investigated by the party for alleged irregularities during the primaries.

Deputy President William Ruto lost Baringo Governor Benjamin Cheboi and a host of MPs and MCAs.

Mr Ruto’s key ally Zedekiah Kiprop Bundotich alias Buzeki, who caused a stir in the Uasin Gishu gubernatorial race, was defeated by incumbent Jackson Mandago.

Attention will now turn to the IEBC to deliver credible elections.