Leaders face nominations crisis

Key presidential aspirants are facing the headache of negotiating deals that could prevent their close allies from facing off during the party nominations over the next one week.  

Wednesday January 2 2013

The chairman of the ODM National Elections Board Franklin Bett (right) during a news conference January 2, 2013. He said the party nominations will be held on January 17, 2013. EMMA NZIOKA

The chairman of the ODM National Elections Board Franklin Bett (right) during a news conference January 2, 2013. He said the party nominations will be held on January 17, 2013. EMMA NZIOKA 

By PETER LEFTIE [email protected] AND BOB ODALO [email protected]

Key presidential aspirants are facing the headache of negotiating deals that could prevent their close allies from facing off during the party nominations over the next one week.  

Presidential hopefuls Raila Odinga and Musalia Mudavadi and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka are grappling with likely fallouts of their key allies in major counties.

The worst affected counties are Nairobi, Mombasa, Kakamega, Siaya, Machakos and Makueni where there is fierce competition among candidates.

ODM and Wiper parties — partners in the Coalition for Reform and Democracy (Cord) — have scheduled their primaries on January 10 while Mr Mudavadi’s United Democratic Forum (UDF) will hold them on January 11 and 12.

In Nairobi, Mr Odinga is facing a headache averting a possible fall-out during the party’s primaries for the governor’s seat, which has so far attracted assistant minister Margaret Wanjiru, former Nairobi Town Clerk Philip Kisia and former Mumias Sugar Company boss Evans Kidero.  

The PM is said to have held talks with Dr Kidero aimed at securing a deal between him and the Starehe MP. The meeting came amid claims by Nairobi mayor George Aladwa that there was a plot to prevail on Dr Kidero to step down for Ms Wanjiru.

Ms Wanjiru, however, denied there were any such talks.

“Such talks can only be initiated by our party’s elections board or the top leadership, not candidates,” she said.

In Mombasa County, ODM is grappling with intense rivalry between assistant minister Ramadhan Kajembe and former Kenya National Commission on Human Rights Hassan Omar, who are both eyeing the Senate seat.

Looming contest

The party’s pointman in Mombasa and its national organising secretary Ali Hassan Joho, however, ruled out any boardroom agreements to avert a fall-out.

In Kakamega county, Mr Mudavadi’s allies are working behind the scenes to avert a looming contest between Housing Minister Soita Shitanda and former provincial commissioner Paul Olando who are both eyeing the governor’s seat on the UDF ticket. 

Ikolomani MP Boni Khalwale confirmed that the party was trying to secure a boardroom deal between the two to avert any fallout .

“I am spearheading efforts to forestall a fallout because both are very strong candidates,” he said.

In Machakos County, the battle for the governor’s seat involves former Cabinet minister Mutua Katuku, former government spokesman Alfred Mutua  and Ms Wavinya Ndeti.

In Siaya county, efforts by the ODM leadership to negotiate a deal, which saw Finance assistant minister Oburu Oginga bow out of the race for the Senator’s seat and run for governor’s seat appear to have hit the rocks after the other aspirants refused to play ball.

Signs that the deal may not work emerged during a weekend rally at Ugunja trading centre in Ugenya constituency when efforts by Lands Minister James Orengo to market Dr Oginga for Governor backfired with residents openly supporting his challenger, Mr William Oduol.

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