Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s ODM party has listed 21 counties where it will undertake nominations for various seats ahead of the August 9 General Election.
The primaries come after the party endorsed Mr Odinga for President under the Azimio la Umoja coalition that includes President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee, Wiper of Kalonzo Musyoka, Narc of Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu and Narc-Kenya of Martha Karua, among others.
Mr Odinga will face Deputy President William Ruto, United Democratic Alliance (UDA) nominee, in Kenya’s third General Election and fourth presidential election since the 2010 Constitution was adopted.
ODM will hold its nominations in the selected counties from April 1-21, said a notice from National Elections Board (NEB) chairperson Catherine Mumma on March 24.
The nominations will involve the positions of county governor, senators, MP and ward representative, she said.
The notice excluded counties in the Mt Kenya, Lower Eastern and Northern regions, as well as some in the Rift Valley.
This suggests that the party may not field candidates in those counties, in favour of their Azimio coalition partners, or will likely select candidates through direct nominations, opinion polls or consensus.
“The NEB hereby notifies all aspirants who have applied to vie for the different electoral seats on the ODM party ticket that the party primaries through the method of universal suffrage shall take place on the mentioned dates,” Ms Mumma said.
Guidelines issued by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in January this year dictate that all parties cleared to contest in the General Election conclude their nominations by April 22.
Under the Elections Act, once the nominations are concluded, they will use their internal mechanisms to hear disputes arising from the nominations before submitting the names of candidates to the IEBC for gazettement and to pave the way for ballot printing.
Those not satisfied with the outcomes of their party’s dispute resolution can appeal to the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal (PPDT) and the High Court.
ODM nominations have previously been marred by violence, especially in areas where it enjoys fanatical support.
In such areas, getting the party ticket almost guarantees victory in the General Election.
Yesterday, Ms Mumma stated that the list of polling centres for primaries will be agreed among aspirants in each county at meetings in the regions.
Under the Political Parties Amendment Act of 2021, only ODM members, as certified by the Office of Registrar of Political Parties, will be allowed to vote in the primaries.
Previously, nominations were open to all, and members of rival parties infiltrated the process to manipulate the outcome.
Such tactics were intended to ensure that a weak candidate received the ticket for the benefit of a rival party.
The notice shows that nominations in Nakuru and Turkana counties will be conducted of April 1; Narok and Kajiado on April 2; Kilifi and Tana River on April 4; Taita Taveta and Kwale April 5; Mombasa on April 6; and Kisii and Nyamira on April 7.
The others include Vihiga and Busia on April 12; Kisumu on April 13; Siaya on April 14; Bungoma and Trans Nzoia on April 15; Migori on April 16; Homa Bay on April 18; Kakamega on April 19; and Nairobi on April 21.