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Coalition allies face off in contest for numbers

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Cord Alliance Presidential candidate Raila Odinga (right) and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka during a rally at 64 Stadium in Eldoret town on January 26, 2013. A countrywide survey shows that the ODM, Wiper and UDF recorded the highest defections after some of their candidates moved to other parties citing flawed nominations PHOTO/JARED NYATAYA

Cord Alliance Presidential candidate Raila Odinga (right) and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka during a rally at 64 Stadium in Eldoret town on January 26, 2013. A countrywide survey shows that the ODM, Wiper and UDF recorded the highest defections after some of their candidates moved to other parties citing flawed nominations. PHOTO/JARED NYATAYA   NATION MEDIA GROUP

By NATION TEAM newsdesk@ke.nationmedia.com  (email the author)
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Posted  Monday, January 28  2013 at  00:30

In Summary

  • Fallout from nominations splits Cord senate and governor vote in key Coast, Western and Gusii battlegrounds; Uhuru and Ruto grapple with backlash in Rift Valley and Central
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Stiff competition is expected among parties supporting similar coalitions in the wake of fallouts over sham nominations.

A countrywide survey shows that the Orange Democratic Movement, Wiper and United Democratic Front recorded the highest defections amid claims of flawed primaries.

This has raised fears that rivalry among parties in the same coalition could cost them seats in battlegrounds, resulting in a president with a minority support in Parliament (as was the case with President Kibaki in 2007) and Senate.

The most affected coalition is Cord, where candidates who were edged out in ODM primaries in Western, Nyanza and Coast provinces defected to Wiper and Ford Kenya.

“If one coalition is split, a weaker rival candidate is likely to win the seat,” Mr Peter Aling’o of the Centre for Multiparty Democracy said on Sunday.

He said friendly parties were cannibalising each other because the number of seats they win on March 4 will determine their strength in the coalition government formed after the election.

“The idea of a coalition is to create a sense of ownership and equality in the coalition. Post-election, this will change, and increase the possibility of underrating some partners. They will begin to ask, ‘how many votes, and how many MPs did you bring?’ The fewer the votes, the lower the standing,” said Mr Aling’o.

Mr Kibe Mungai, a lawyer and political analyst, said the intra-coalition competition will open doors for Kenyans to ‘correct the mess that happened in the sham nominations’, and shield the country from dictatorship.

“This is a blessing in disguise, because it will facilitate credible elections for the better,” said Mr Mungai.

He also noted that because different parties will be fielding candidates, it means whoever wins the presidency will not have absolute control of the Legislature.

“Whatever coalition is going to form the next government, it is in the national interest that they do not have a powerful majority in Parliament …that will be a recipe for dictatorship, and will make the impeachment clause in the Constitution an idle threat,” said Mr Mungai.

In most battlegrounds, ODM losers defected to Wiper, making the party’s leader, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, the biggest rival of Mr Raila Odinga (ODM) in hunt for elective seats in Coast Province. Mr Kalonzo is Mr Raila Odinga’s deputy in the Cord coalition. The same applies in Western, where most aspirants who lost UDF primaries decamped to New Ford Kenya of Eugene Wamalwa. New Ford Kenya and Kanu are part of Amani coalition led by Musalia Mudavadi of UDF.

The defections in Jubilee coalition have bucked the trend, with neither main affiliate parties URP and TNA fielding rival candidates. This could be partly because the parties (URP of William Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta’s TNA) have distinct support bases in Rift Valley and Central provinces respectively — and had a pre-election deal not to field candidates in each other’s stronghold.
The defections have set the stage for a bruising battle among friendly parties for senate, governor and MPs slots.

In Mombasa, former Kisauni MP Hassan Joho faces stiff competition from another Cord member Suleiman Shahbal who is running on a Wiper ticket for governorship. For senate, Ramadhan Seif Kajembe of ODM will battle it out with Omar Hassan of Wiper, who quit the Orange party citing favouritism.

The differences between the two wings have trickled down to some parliamentary seats such as Nyali, Jomvu and Changamwe where aspirants are competing within the Cord coalition.

In Jomvu, Environment assistant minister Ramadhan Kajemba’s son, Seif Kajembe (ODM) will face Wiper candidate Badi Twalib who decamped after losing in the Orange party primaries.

In Nyali, the contest is between Mombasa businessman Hezron Awiti Bolo (Wiper) and former deputy mayor John Mcharo (ODM).

Former unregistered Islamic Party of Kenya chairman Omar Mwinyi (ODM) will battle it out with Mr Philip Ndolo (Wiper) for the Changamwe seat.

In Taita Taveta, the contest for governorship will be lost and won in Cord, with Mr John Mruttu (ODM), Ms Jacinta Mwatela (Wiper) and Sophy Kibai (Ford Kenya) seeking the seat.

In Kisumu West constituency, former MP Olago Aluoch defected to Ford Kenya where he will contest the seat against ODM’s Rosa Buyu who was handed the ticket.

In the newly created Kisumu Central, Mr Abdul Omar will run on a Ford Kenya after claiming his victory was stolen. Mr Ken Obura has the ODM ticket.

In Nyando, former MP Fred Outa will square it out with Mr Jared Okello who defected to Ford Kenya.

Mr Hillary Alila, who lost the ODM Homa Bay senate nominations to Immigrations minister Otieno Kajwang’, will vie on a PDP ticket.

In Kisii, Cord parties face a similar dilemma.

Public Works Minister Chris Obure (ODM), Mr Omingo Magara (PDP) and Mr Raphael Raini (Ford Kenya) will fight for the senate seat.

Ms Bridgit Ombati (PDP) will battle it out with Ms Mary Sally Otara (ODM) for Kisii women representative slot.

Foreign Affairs assistant minister Richard Onyonka of ODM, Mr Don Bosco Gichana (PDP) and Anthony Kibagendi of (PPK) are all seeking the Kitutu Chache seat.

Jubilee coalition also faces the same challenge in Bomachoge Chache where Mr Fred Mititi (URP) and Mr Amos Nyamoko (TNA) want the seat.

In Kakamega, former Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo (FPK) and university lecturer Shanyisa Khasiani (ODM) are vying for senate within the Cord coalition.

In the Amani coalition, assistant minister Manyala Keya will defend the Lurambi seat on New Ford Kenya ticket after he lost UDF nominations to Bishop Titus Khamala.

Housing Minister Soita Shitanda is vying for the Kakamega govenor post on a New Ford Kenya ticket after he was disqualified by UDF on academic grounds. UDF picked Mr Paul Olando.

At the same time, businessman Julius Asira is vying for the Butere seat on a Ford Kenya ticket while Mr Andrew Toboso who beat former Cabinet minister Amukoa Anangwe in the nominations will fly the ODM flag. Prof Anangwe may vie on an FPK ticket.

In Malava constituency, Mr George Munji who lost to Said Khasabuli in UDF primaries has decamped to Kanu, a key partner in the Amani coalition led by Mr Musalia Mudavadi.

However, Mr John Shimaka who was also floored in the UDF nominations decamped to Wiper party and will battle it out with ODM’s Musavin Zakaya Nambwa.

Cord faces another headache in Busia County where Mr Sospeter Ojaamong (ODM) and Mr Philemon Imo of Ford Kenya are all going for the governor’s seat.

Former Attorney-General Amos Wako of ODM will lock horns with former Nambale MP Chris Okemo of Ford Kenya for the Busia senate post.

In Siaya, Mr Cornel Rasanga Amoth of ODM and Mr William Oduol of National Agenda Party of Kenya will face off for the govenor seat. Mr Oduol was denied the ticket alongside Dr Oburu Oginga  following protests that the ODM secretariat had unprocedurally endorsed Dr Oginga.

Reports by Brian Yonga, Jackline Moraa, Godfrey Ombogo, Ben Amadala, John Shilitsa, Linet Wafula, Mwakera Mwajefa, George Sayagie, Eric Ngobilo, Barnabas Bii, Raphael Wanjala, Henry Nyarora and Timothy Kemei, Kennedy Kimanthi and George Munene