Losers in the upcoming party primaries have been handed a lifeline after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) left open a window in the election laws for aspirants to run as independent candidates.
An ambiguity in the Election Amendment Act 2016 that outlawed party hoping now coming as a blow to President Uhuru Kenyatta, opposition chiefs Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetangula who whipped their members to pass the law to instil discipline among political parties.
However, what the drafters of the law may have forgotten is that they may have tightened the noose for party hopers but overlooked that party nomination losers might not run to the other parties, but they would still find themselves in the ballot as independent candidates.
The uncertainty of the law coming as a reprieve to would be party nomination losers given the high stakes in the exercise slated for April 13th and 26th, 2017.
“Each political party wishing to participate in the elections must finalise its primaries on or before the 26th April 2017,” IEBC said.
“Candidates intending to participate in the general elections as independent candidates shall cease being members of any political party by May 8th, 2017, being 3 months before the General Election,” the electoral agency said in a Gazette notice signed by its chairman Wafula Chebukati.
The polls team announcement expected to electrify candidates who will not be satisfied with the outcome of party primaries as they will essentially have 14 days until May 8 to resign from their parties and run as independents.
In Februry, Mr Chebukati vowed to crack the whip on those he said were waiting to flout the law.
“If you want to run as independent, do not engage in the nomination of a political party. The law was made to stop that, and we will make sure it does,” Mr Chebukati had said.
Owing to the high stakes given to the party primaries in some constituencies which are perceived to be strongholds getting the nomination ticket is as good as being elected.
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party and opposition Chief Raila Odinga has repeatedly had to assure candidates that nomination process will be free, fair, transparent and credible.
However, despite the warranties from the party leaders, some aspirants have had to join alternative parties or formed new parties where they are assured of direct tickets in readiness for the August 8th elections.
For example in Meru and Embu counties perceived to be Jubilee party stronghold leading contenders for the governorship and senatorial races have ditched the Jubilee party for other political parties where they are guaranteed of direct nominations.
Embu Senator Lenny Kivuti and former aide to President Uhuru Kenyatta Kilemi Mwiria were eyeing the Embu and Meru governorship positions respectively.
The two defected from Jubilee Party to Governor Alfred Mutua’s Maendeleo Chap Chap on whose ticket they will seek the governor position.
Kivuti was to battle it at the Jubilee party nominations with incumbent Martin Wambora and Runyenjes MP Cecil Mbarire.
While Kilemi was to square it out with Meru senator Kiraitu Murungi for the Jubilee party ticket in the Meru gubernatorial race.
The latest defection from Jubilee party was Tiaty MP Asman Kamama who said he ditched Jubilee party for Maendeleo Chap Chap because of political dynamics in his constituency.
READ MORE: Keep off party nominations, IEBC warned
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