President Uhuru Kenyatta has summoned 16,000 aspirants seeking to run on the Jubilee Party ticket for a strategy meeting in Nairobi on Friday.
The meeting, which comes just two days after opposition aspirants met at the Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi, will be used by the President to launch a recruitment drive for members.
On Wednesday, Mr Raphael Tuju, the head of President Kenyatta’s campaign secretariat said the aspirants would gather at the Kasarani Gymnasium.
“We have invited all aspirants running for governorship, Senate, National Assembly, county women representative and county assemblies,” he said, adding that only 16,000 party members who have expressed interest in contesting for various positions would be allowed at the venue and that they must show proof of payment.
“We are discouraging jokers from attending the meeting. We only want genuine aspirants to attend,” he said and explained that a mass membership drive that is technology-driven will be launched by the President and then spread to the rest of the country.
Separately, the party’s elected leaders in Nairobi on Wednsday said they were prepared to take the county’s leadership in the August elections.
The leaders said they had a strategy on how to capture all the seats, including the gubernatorial one currently being held by the Opposition.
Senator Mike Sonko and MPs Johnson Sakaja, Rachel Shebesh (Woman Rep Nairobi), Dennis Waweru (Dagoretti South), Maina Kamanda (Starehe), Beatrice Elachi (nominated), Yusuf Hassan (Kamukunji) and Stephen Kariuki (Mathare) said they would team up and come up with strong candidates to compete with the Opposition.
Others were former presidential candidate Peter Kenneth and former MP and Assistant Minister Margaret Wanjiru.
Speaking during a meeting of elected leaders and Jubilee aspirants hosted by Deputy President William Ruto at his Karen office, Nairobi, the leaders vowed to stick together even after the party’s nominations, to ensure they capture all the seats in the city.
Ms Shebesh said: “We have resolved to work together and ensure all seats in Nairobi are captured by Jubilee. We have learnt from 2013 elections and we will not go the same route,” she said.
Mr Ruto told Jubilee supporters to ensure the party wins all the seats in Nairobi County.
He said those who will be defeated during the nominations should stick with the party and support the winners for the sake of unity.
“I want to ask all those who will lose during the nominations to support those who will win so that the party retains the seats,” said Mr Ruto, and encouraged the leaders to try and reach a consensus on how to fight for the seats.
“I want you to come up with candidates, even through consensus, where you amicably agree and share the various seats in Nairobi County and which must reflect the wishes of all the communities in the city,” he said.
Some senior Jubilee Party members, however, complained that the party was planning to transfer the burden of registering members to aspirants and warned that the registration should be conducted by the party for purposes of ensuring credibility.
“We are targeting up to five million members and the exercise will be managed by our interim offices countrywide,” said Mr Tuju
Registrar of Political Parties Lucy Ndung’u on Wednesday said parties were not allowed to let non-members take part in the nominations.
“The law doesn’t allow parties to allow non-members to participate in their primaries. If they do so, their primaries may be challenged,” she said, adding that once parties submit their lists to the Registrar of Political Parties, no other members would be enrolled until after the primaries.
“We want to have the registers closed at some point to allow administrative planning because the same will be used by parties in their primaries,” she said.
Parties have about one month to submit their registers, with the deadline set for February 14, after which no new members will be listed.