You have 3 days to pick running mates, IEBC tells Ruto, Raila

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati.  He has said Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga must name their running mates by Thursday.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The electoral agency insists that Deputy President William Ruto and Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party’s Raila Odinga and other presidency aspirants name their running mates by Thursday.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) also invited the respective parties’ officials for a meeting today at its offices in Nairobi after Azimio protested at the deadline.

If IEBC doesn’t review its decision, Kenyans will by Thursday know the running mates of DP Ruto and Mr Odinga, the two leading presidential contenders, ending the prolonged speculation.

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka has in the recent past been pressuring the Azimio leadership over the running mate slot, with the inaugural Executive council meeting chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta last week resolving to appoint an advisory council to guide its choice.

In the Azimio camp, reports indicate, the race has been narrowed down to Mr Musyoka, Narc’s Martha Karua and Mr Peter Kenneth.

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’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 the running mate.

Last week, Mr Mudavadi and Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula told Western Kenya that a deal had been struck to give them both 30 per cent of the government. Analysts say this could mean Mr Mudavadi is out of the Number Two race.

In a letter to UDA, Azimio, Safina and ODM, IEBC says its decision for presidential candidates to name their running mates by April 28 is grounded in law. The rule also applies to governor candidates.

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati rejected the argument by Azimio that since presidential hopefuls become candidates only after the first week of June after the commission receives their papers, that is when they should be asked to name their running mates.

Presidential hopefuls

Allowing the names to come after those of the presidential hopefuls, Mr Chebukati said, will deny the commission the chance to vet them ahead of the registration that ends on June 6.

“The commission is required to put in place appropriate logistics for sharing particulars of the nominees with the relevant agencies for purposes of obtaining information necessary for the clearance of the candidates. It is noteworthy that some of the requirements for candidature such as educational qualifications and citizenship would necessitate seeking information from other government agencies. This objective cannot be attained if the deputy presidential candidates’ particulars are only presented to the commission on the date of registration,” said Mr Chebukati in the letter.

The institutions that vet candidates include the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, Judiciary, State Law Office, Commission of University Education and Office of the Director Public Prosecution.

In any case, Mr Chebukati said, the parties did the same thing in 2017.

“The commission is cognizant of the fact that in the year 2017, we received the names of the presidential candidates and their deputies as well as those of the county governors and their deputies before the date of registration of candidates. The Candidate Registration Management System bears records vindicating this position. Indeed, this presents a solid precedent and it would be unsafe to depart therefrom,” the IEBC boss says.

The chairman justified the April 28 deadline, citing various Sections of the Election law.

“... it is our considered view that by the time party nomination window closes, presidential candidates should have nominated their running mates, lest there be separate processes contrary to what is envisaged in the Constitution.

Even then, the IEBC said it had invited the leading presidential candidates’ representatives to a meeting today to discuss the matter.

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