People’s Empowerment Party rules out supporting any presidential candidate

People's Empowerment Party (PEP) officials led by Stephen Mwakesi (centre) addresses journalists at in Taita Taveta County. 


Photo credit: Lucy Mkanyika I Nation Media Group

The People’s Empowerment Party has said it will only enter into a post-election agreement with the winning coalition in the August 9 General Election.

For now, its leaders said, they will support neither the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition nor Kenya Kwanza.

Party leader Stephen Mwakesi, who is eyeing the Taita Taveta governor’s seat, said their focus is to win seats in the coming elections.

He spoke in Mwatate after handing the party’s tickets to its candidates.

"We have taken a decision not to affiliate with any political coalitions until after the elections. We don't feel that any of the coalitions present an opportunity to associate with them," he said.

He said the party does not want to be caught up in the disputes that have rocked the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party and the Kenya Kwanza alliance. 

He said the party will have a chance to build direct partnerships with communities for the best economic interests of citizens.

"There is a lot of turmoil going on within these coalitions and for us, we have chosen to be independent and focus on serving the citizens," he said.

A post-election coalition with the ruling government, he said, would benefit citizens.

"We want to be part of the next government and we want to contribute positively but not in any manner that might prove to be divisible ahead of the election," he said. 

Mr Mwakesi was initially Deputy President William Ruto’s ally but ditched the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party to join PEP.

He had accused UDA of trying to force him to abandon his race in favour of former Governor John Mruttu, who is now flying the party's ticket.

The two are fighting to unseat Governor Granton Samboja in a crowded race that has attracted 10 other candidates.

Others in the race include Mwatate MP Andrew Mwadime (independent), former senator Dan Mwazo (Wiper), Patience Nyange (Nark-K),

Prof Agnes Mwang'ombe (ANC), Faustine Mghendi (TSP) and Elijah Mwandoe (PAA).

Also in the race are George Mwandembo (DAP-K), Francis Mwaita (Safina), Godino Mwasaru (independent) and Thomas Mwakwida (ODM). 

PEP has also fielded Ms Anna Kina for the Senate seat and Mr Ben Mghana for the Mwatate parliamentary seat. Some 18 aspirants are eyeing MCA seats under the party.

In Kwale, Mr Abdala Jawabu will vie for the Senate seat and Mr Said Mraja is contesting the Ramisi ward seat.

PEP secretary-general Joyce Mwambingu said they have complied with the two-thirds gender rule on candidates for the National Assembly and the Senate.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has warned that non-compliant political parties will not participate in the forthcoming elections for those seats.

"The IEBC has cleared us, so we are 100 per cent compliant," she said.

PEP chairperson Watson Simiyu said the party is fielding candidates in 30 counties.

"This is a national party because our presence is being felt all over the country," he said. 

But he urged the IEBC not to discriminate against parties that are considered small and asked for a level playing field ahead of the elections. 

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