President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga have hired a pollster to conduct research that will help in determining popular candidates to fly the coalition’s flag in the August 9 General Election.
Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi, who chairs the Odinga presidential campaign board, said Tuesday the poll results would help in managing sibling rivalry among the affiliated parties in Azimio la Umoja.
The most popular aspirants would be given direct tickets under the Azimio movement based on the outcome of the scientific process.
Their aim is to have a super majority in Parliament that will ensure they push through their agenda should Mr Odinga claim victory. Apart from ODM and Jubilee, there are many other parties in Azimio movement.
“The study will assist us to manage sibling rivalry. There will be an Azimio candidate for all positions throughout the nation,” Mr Muriithi told the Nation.
A source in Mr Odinga’s camp added: “This is the surest way to present popular candidates in the election and curb violent protests from disputed primaries. We are cognisant of the fact that giving the party certificate to popular candidates will end this negative tradition in our nominations.”
The pollster is reportedly working with some government administrators to reach out to the electorate at the grassroots.
“The poll is being conducted in all the positions from ward to governors in all the counties. It’s very expensive but we have to do it to have most popular candidates. We have so far done it in 15 counties,” said ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna.
They hope to cover 30 more counties in the coming weeks.
“We are making it clear that it’s the science that will guide us. In many of these areas, we are going to use the science to give direct tickets. We need not to subject aspirants to an elective process when we know who is ahead of the others,” Mr Sifuna said.
If an aspirant has more than 20-30 percentage points over the others, ODM will issue a direct ticket.
“We shall only use the delegates and party members when it is determined that the science cannot separate them when they are maybe between plus, minus five (+-5). In this case we shall then deploy another method. Clear favourite will be given tickets,” said Mr Sifuna.
“In instances where we find a favourite candidate belongs in a different party, we will reach out to them. If we find that the person leading in opinion poll is leaning towards UDA, we shall convince him to join us. We poach them and give them an offer to be our candidate,” he added.
Mr Sifuna said in cosmopolitan regions such as Nairobi, the scientific process will also enable them to reach a consensus. “Even consensus is nomination. It’s not a must that we subject the aspirants to competitive nomination process and bring our parties members to vote,” he said.
“Those waiting to see queues are in for a rude shock in this election. Science is the most fundamental process and negotiations. People should sit down as adults and talk because we know each other’s strengths,” he added.
He said they were waiting for all the parties interested in joining Azimio to come then “we shall sit down, talk and agree on the best way to conduct nominations”.
Embrace each other
ODM deputy party leader Wycliffe Oparanya said all outfits in Azimio should embrace each other and keep their eyes on the ball – which is ensuring Mr Odinga becomes the fifth president.
“We must embrace all our partners. I encourage working together even if we have internal differences,” he said.
The Kakamega governor warned against blatant endorsements of particular candidates during Azimio rallies.
“We want to ensure fairness and focus on the presidential seat. After the primaries, we shall set out for joint campaigns for the presidential position,” he said.
The amended Political Parties Act states only registered members of political parties are allowed to participate in primaries. In the past, as long as one was a registered voter within in a constituency, they were free to participate in party primaries.
But this is set to change this year as only registered members, whose names have also been certified by the Registrar of Political Parties, would be allowed to participate in nominations.
Those supporting Azimio are Party of National Unity (PNU) linked to Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya, Upya Movement linked to Treasury’s Ukur Yatani, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) associated with Interior Secretary Fred Matiang’i and Democratic Action Party of Kenya (DAP-K) associated with Defence Eugene Wamalwa.
Others are National Alliance Rainbow Coalition (Narc) led by Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu, Maendeleo Chap Chap (MCC) of Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, Ubuntu Peoples’ Forum (UPF) led by Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui and West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo’s Kenya Union Party (KUP). Pamoja African Alliance (PAA) led by Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi’, Devolution Empowerment Party (DEP) of Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi and Makueni Governor Prof Kivutha Kibwana’s Muungano Party of Kenya (MPK) are also in it.