The decision by Amani National Congress (ANC) party to give direct nomination to Mr Peter Nabulindo for the forthcoming Matungu parliamentary by-election has drawn criticism from a section of party members.
ANC members from Matungu have rejected the move, describing Mr Nabulindo as a stranger to the party. They also argue that he does not deserve the party ticket since there were loyal members of ANC who had sacrificed a lot to strengthen the party’s presence in the region.
The enraged members have now threatened to defect from the Musalia Mudavadi-led party should Mr Nabulindo be given the ANC certificate to contest the March 4, 2021 mini-poll.
Earlier, ANC deputy party leader Ayub Savula and Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala said they had endorsed Mr Nabulindo following a survey that indicated he was the most popular candidate.
Mr Nabulindo contested the parliamentary seat in 2017 on a Ford Kenya party ticket and came second with 10,636 votes behind Mr Justus Murunga who garnered 18,088.
Ford Kenya party leader Moses Wetang'ula announced that the party will not field a candidate in Matungu but instead support ANC.
ANC leaders Kelvin Lunani (chairman), Ayub Savula (deputy party leader) and MPs Cleophas Malala (Kakamega Senator), Titus Khamala (Lurambi), Sakwa Bunyasi (Nambale), Oku Kaunya (Teso North) and Alfred Agoi (Sabatia) on Saturday evening met at Nabulindo's Two Gardens Hotel and made the announcement.
But Matungu ANC sub-branch officials rejected the decision and accused their party leader, Mr Mudavadi, of failing to promote democracy in the party and instead employing the ODM style of giving direct nominations to friends of party leaders.
“It was wrong for ANC national leadership to sit with Mr Nabulindo in a bar at night and offer him a ticket to be the party's flagbearer in the by-election. Mr Nabulindo has been a member of Ford Kenya and it is not clear when he defected to ANC,” said Mr Michael Matanji, sub-branch chairman.
Mr Matanji accused ANC national leaders of failing to consult party members at the grassroots level and failing to involve them in the process of picking the party's candidate.
“They should have consulted and informed us about their decision because we are the frontline soldiers of the party on the ground. This style of handpicking candidates is bad for ANC. We demand democracy and openness in our party,” added Mr Matanji.
Senator Malala, however, said ANC will hold a big rally in Matungu on December 24 to officially unveil the candidate and hit the ground ahead of the March 4, 2021 mini-poll.