Date: 18 January 2017 17:21
Key Opposition politicians are divided on whether parties in the newly formed National Super Alliance (Nasa) should hold joint or separate primaries to choose candidates for the General Election.
While Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) chairperson John Mbadi and Ford Kenya’s Chris Wamalwa feel that the alliance should hold joint nominations, Wiper secretary-general Hassan Omar maintained that affiliate parties should field candidates for other seats apart from the presidency.
Due to the split, a technical committee has been set up to come up with an agreeable formula of conducting the primaries.
The underlying fear, however, is that by fielding more than one candidate, the Nasa politicians would split votes and give advantage to their Jubilee opponents.
The Mbadi group is pushing for a 2002 Narc-style system in which parties under the alliance competed at the primaries and went to the polls on the coalition’s ticket.
The ODM chairman singled out Mombasa, Nairobi and Western regions as among areas where the coalition will face a tough test during primaries due to high competition for the opposition ticket. He suggested zoning of the country depending on party strength.
Mr Wamalwa said: “We will field joint candidates in areas where Jubilee may get undue advantage to clinch seats. Where they seem strong, we will decided who among the coalition parties should field a candidate backed by all the partners.”
But Mr Omar lashed out at county chiefs for pushing for a joint candidate for other lower seats starting with the governorship.
The Mombasa senator indicated that the push by opposition governors for the ticket was driven by fear that a number of them could lose.
“In Mombasa, there will be an ODM and Wiper candidate for the county’s top seat on the ballot,” said Mr Omar who has declared interest in the Mombasa governorship.
Should the coalition make a mistake of imposing leaders on the electorate, he warned, there will be voter apathy which might affect the presidential vote.
Mr Kibisu Kabatesi of Musalia Mudavadi’s ANC, said a technical team will consider all the proposals tabled before it including joint nominations.