What you need to know:
- Delegates allied to Mr Ruto are being wooed by Mr Uhuru Kenyatta (TNA) and Mr Musalia Mudavadi’s (UDF) supporters to swing the vote in their favour
- Mr Ruto heads URP and will be the running mate of the ultimate winner of the Jubilee ticket
- Mr Ruto, Mr Mudavadi and Mr Kenyatta were scheduled to discuss a report on nomination rules Thursday night
Eldoret North MP William Ruto is emerging as the king maker in the race for the Jubilee coalition presidential nomination expected next week.
Delegates allied to Mr Ruto are being wooed by Mr Uhuru Kenyatta (TNA) and Mr Musalia Mudavadi’s (UDF) supporters to swing the vote in their favour.
Mr Ruto heads URP and will be the running mate of the ultimate winner of the Jubilee ticket. Read (URP denies split in Jubilee alliance)
“There has been no official announcement on nomination from us. Talks about Tuesday are media speculations,” Mr Ruto said on Thursday.
Mr Ruto, Mr Mudavadi and Mr Kenyatta were scheduled to discuss a report on nomination rules Thursday night amid reports that some URP MPs were campaigning for Mr Mudavadi.
But Belgut MP Charles Keter dismissed the claims, saying the party would work with its allies to support the best candidate for the March 4 elections.
“We are working together with our brothers from TNA and UDF. We are one team,” said Mr Keter.
North Horr MP Chachu Ganya said URP did not have a preferred candidate between the two rivals.
“We have not agreed on who between Mr Kenyatta and Mr Mudavadi should be supported. What we know is that as a party we will rally behind the eventual winner,” Mr Ganya said.
Meanwhile, the three leaders will hold joint rallies in Rift Valley, Western and Central provinces on Saturday.
On Friday, they will be in Narok, Saturday in Malava and on Sunday, Murang’a.
Assistant minister Kareke Mbiuki, who supports Mr Kenyatta, welcomed competition for the presidential ticket.
“We are not worried about the machinations aimed at arm-twisting our leader. What we know is that Mr Kenyatta is prepared to battle for the ticket in a democratic exercise and we know victory will be ours,” Mr Mbiuki said.
He said the party would push for competitive election of the Jubilee flagbearer in the elections.
“We are not in support of this idea of consensus. We have agreed to play within the Jubilee coalition but we will not allow anything other than a properly organised election. We will not accept boardroom deals,” said Mr Mbiuki.
This was echoed by TNA secretary-general Onyango Oloo, who said supporters would pick the coalition’s candidate.
“As a party we can assure you that TNA is ready to participate and uphold the results of these nominations whichever way it goes as long as it does not substitute the power of the people to participate in electing the flagbearer,” he said.
Mr Mudavadi’s supporters are pushing for the presidential candidate to be picked through consensus to avoid acrimony over the results.
Mr Ndiritu Muriithi (Industry Assistant minister), who is representing UDF in the joint technical committee drafting nomination rules, said this would also save coalition money.
“There are four methods available to us. We can do it through consensus, through delegates from the parties involved, we can have all members of the concerned parties vote to pick the candidate or we can do it through universal suffrage. In terms of cost, consensus would be the most attractive method but all these options are being considered,” Mr Murithi said.
The rules once adopted by the coalition will guide the joint nomination board comprising of Justice (Rtd) Aaron Ringera and Jasper Mbiuki (TNA), Mr Kipchumba Murkomen and David Chirchir (URP) and Mr Mureithi and Abdulkadir Mohammed (UDF) on how to pick the flagbearer.
Meanwhile, Narc of presidential aspirant Charity Ngilu has not signed a cooperation agreement with the Jubilee coalition, according to the party’s secretary general Fidelis Nguli.
“Given that we are going to sign an agreement as equal partners we expect our presidential aspirant, Mrs Ngilu might participate in the presidential nominations,” he said.
At the same time, Mr Raila Odinga and Mr Kalonzo Musyoka of the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) said they will announce their campaign lineup next Saturday at a rally in Nairobi.