Aspirants eyeing the Kajiado North parliamentary seat have intensified campaigns, with focus shifting to party nominations this week.
Aspirants keen to clinch the seat on PNU and TNA tickets have been wooing their party members as they prepare to face off in the nominations.
The exercise to pick candidates in the two parties is expected to elicit political fireworks, with stakes already high in the race to succeed George Saitoti, who died in a plane crash on June 10.
PNU is particularly keen to win the seat after the death of its chairman, who had made the cosmopolitan constituency the party’s stronghold.
On the other hand, TNA – the political vehicle Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta is banking on for his presidential bid – is keen to use the mini-election to test its popularity.
On its part, ODM, which has handed direct nomination to Peter Mositet, will be keen to capture the seat it narrowly lost in the 2007 election when its then candidate, Moses ole Sakuda, lost to the late minister in controversial circumstances. Sakuda filed a petition in court. He has since decamped to TNA.
PNU will conduct its nominations tomorrow where international trade consultant Solomon Kinyanjui will be facing off with Anthony Keen in the fight to clinch the party ticket. Keen is the son of former area MP and veteran politician John Keen, who dominated Kajiado’s politics for years.
The run-up to the PNU nominations tomorrow has been overshadowed by allegations of campaign malpractices, with Kinyanjui accusing his rivals and his supporters of defacing and damaging his posters.
On Tuesday, Kinyanjui wrote to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in protest and later reported the matter to Ngong Police Station. He also registered his complaint with his party headquarters.
“I consider this as a crime and expect the IEBC to be decisive on the matter. I am keen to run my campaign in a peaceful manner, offering my competitor respect and expect the same from his camp,” said Kinyanjui.
Another issue that has clouded the nominations is allegations that names of some PNU members who had been registered by Saitoti were missing in the IEBC register.
“We have checked the IEBC register and we are afraid if it would be used to vet the electorate, then many genuine members who have registration cards, would be locked out as their names are missing,” said Kinyanjui.
In Uhuru Kenyatta’s TNA, another bruising battle will be expected on Wednesday when the outfit holds its nomination, with Sakuda battling it out with Joseph Manje and Francis Parsimei Gitau for the party ticket.
To indicate how serious TNA is taking the by-election, Uhuru last Sunday held a series of rallies in the constituency, urging the electorate to ensure the party wins.
Uhuru moved in to dispel claims the party had settled on Sakuda, insisting the party would back the candidate who will win in the August 15 nomination.
The nominations will especially be a litmus test for Uhuru’s party after its consistent promises to ensure a fair nomination. Uhuru promised that external political forces would not meddle in the by-elections.
“We will wait until the nominations are held and you pick on your favourite candidate. Do not fall to the lies that we have identified a candidate. It will be upon you to tell us through the vote the person you would want to carry out flag,” said Uhuru at the Sunday meeting in Ngong. Despite their rivalry, the three aspirants vowed to back the candidate who will win at the nominations.
“The ideal situation would have been if we came together and agreed on a compromise candidate but since TNA is a party of democracy, we welcome internal political competition and whoever will emerge winner at the nomination will receive backing of other candidates,” said Sakuda.
By Moses Njagih and Peterson Githaiga, The Standard