What you need to know:
- While IEBC insists on the Thursday deadline, the Azimio team says the cut off date is not anchored in law.
- Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka on Sunday upped the stakes for Mr Odinga’s running mate position.
The electoral agency postponed to today crisis talks over its Thursday deadline for presidential aspirants to name their running mates, with Azimio la Umoja One Kenya saying the meeting will determine their future plans.
Azimio’s Raila Odinga, who is on an official visit in the United States, had sent the coalition’s secretary-general Junet Mohammed and advocates Paul Mwangi and Tom Macharia to represent him at the meeting with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) yesterday.
IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati postponed the meeting to today citing engagements occasioned by the death of former President Mwai Kibaki.
The commission has set Thursday April 28 as the deadline for the presidential and gubernatorial aspirants to present the names of their running mates to it.
“Due to engagements occasioned by the demise of the third President of the Republic of Kenya Hon Mwai Kibaki, the commission hereby defers the meeting that it had invited you to attend on April 25 to April 26 at 10:00am in the commission’s boardroom on sixth floor Anniversary Towers,” read Mr Chebukati’s letter to the parties.
This comes as Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka on Sunday upped the stakes for Mr Odinga’s running mate position, saying he was the best candidate.
Should Mr Odinga fail to name him as the running mate, Mr Musyoka said, he might lose the August 9 elections.
“Stop talking about the selection of Mr Odinga’s deputy president position in public as this may portray us as weak. Let us keep quiet and watch how they approach the selection of the deputy president and pray.
“Everything is plain so why should we waste time? People know that when Raila takes the Wiper team on board, he will be the next President of Kenya. But there is a problem when Raila leaves Kalonzo,” he said in Kitui town.
Mr Musyoka was responding to hardliners in his camp who had intensified calls for Mr Odinga to name him as his running mate.
Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua, his Makueni counterpart Mutula Kilonzo Jr and MPs Daniel Maanzo (Makueni) and Gideon Mulyungi (Mwingi Central) believe that Mr Musyoka is the most suitable candidate to deputise Mr Odinga, and that he should not be subjected to vetting.
Mr Maanzo had set off a storm by rallying Mr Musyoka’s supporters to boycott the presidential election if the ODM leader does not pick the Wiper boss as his running mate.
The campaign by Mr Musyoka’s allies received a major boost after it drew support from unlikely quarters; allies of Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua and those of Deputy President William Ruto.
United Democratic Alliance (UDA) chairman Johnson Muthama, Machakos Town MP Victor Munyaka and former Machakos chief of staff Mwengi Mutuse, who will contest the Kibwezi West parliamentary seat on a Maendeleo Chap Chap ticket, have joined Mr Musyoka’s allies in pushing Mr Odinga to name him as his running mate.
“To my beloved Azimio; for us in the lower eastern region, our diaspora and in the best interest of Kenya, it is either Kalonzo Musyoka or Dr Alfred Mutua for Raila Odinga’s running mate. There is nothing for us without us,” Mr Mutuse said last Thursday.
Mr Muthama accused President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Odinga of conspiring to mistreat Mr Musyoka.
“I want to tell the President and Raila Odinga not to mistreat Kalonzo exceedingly. Give him the respect due to him. Where I am, in Kenya Kwanza, I am respected,” Mr Muthama said while campaigning in Kawethei township.
In the IEBC meeting yesterday, Mr Mohamed, Mr Mwangi and Mr Macharia had already arrived at the IEBC offices before the meeting was postponed. They and held brief talks with a section of the commissioners ahead of tomorrow’s meeting.
“We have discussed the matter and put our points across to them about the issues we feel we should look at tomorrow (today). The details will come out tomorrow. Our meeting with IEBC tomorrow will determine how the future will look like,” Mr Mohammed told journalists yesterday.
The Azimio council, chaired by President Kenyatta had on Thursday last week resolved to appoint an advisory panel to recommend potential running mates to Mr Odinga.
The Nation established that opinion polls on the popularity of potential nominees would be used in the process.
Yesterday, Mr Mohammed insisted they needed more time, saying that the IEBC Thursday deadline was not in accordance with the law.
Mr Odinga’s camp argues that names of running mates should be submitted between May 29 and June 6, suggesting a push for more time to put their house in order.
“When dealing with serious issues, time is never adequate. Our meeting with IEBC tomorrow (today) will however, determine how the future will look like,” said Mr Mohammed.
He said their advisory panel was already in place “but after we meet with the IEBC then we will operationalise it”.
“We are considering the outcome of the meeting and advise to the panel. We shall give you their details then,” Mr Mohammed added.
In the Azimio camp, reports indicate the race has been narrowed down to former presidential candidate Peter Kenneth, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Narc Kenya’s Martha Karua.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS) Peter Munya, governors Ndiritu Muriithi (Laikipia), Charity Ngilu (Kitui) and Lee Kinyanjui (Nakuru) were also said to have been in the race.
In the DP Ruto’s camp, Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi, Tharaka-Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi and Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru are said to be in the list from which the DP will choose his running mate.