Kenya: Party Nominees May be Rejected

Parties have been put on notice that their lists of nominees to Parliament and the Senate may be rejected if they do not conform to the situation.

The warning by the Electoral and Boundaries Commission comes as it emerges that some of the main political parties have included in their lists of nominees–political cronies and loyalists who were rejected during the recent party nominations.

Yesterday, the IEBC vice chair Lilian Mahiri-Zaja assured Kenyans that the commission will uphold the constitution in the matter.

She said IEBC had no intention of ignoring the wishes of Kenyans as expressed in the constitution and other statutory laws.

“We shall ensure the lists conform to the constitutional requirements taking into account special interests, regional diversity, gender and marginalized groups,” she said.

Raila Odinga’s ODM has prioritized the nomination of the party’s executive director Janet Ong’era for nomination to the Senate while Raila’s brother Oburu Odinga tops the list of those to be nominated into the National Assembly.

Parties are submitting their list of nominees in order of priority. Second on the list of those proposed for nomination to the senate is former Kasarani MP Elizabeth Ongoro then Agriculture minister Sally Kosgei. Housing assistant minister Bishop Margaret Wanjiru is fourth on the list.

Ongoro had during the party nominations been presented with the certificate but it was later revoked and presented to Wanjiru.

Kosgey, a key ally of Raila who has resisted the URP wave in Rift Valley is defending her Aldai parliamentary seat on an ODM ticket. If she does not succeed in the elections, she will be considered for nomination to Parliament.

Also included in the list is ODM chairman Henry Kosgey who is contesting for the Nandi Senate seat on an ODM ticket. Nandi is widely viewed URP zone and Kosgey might find it difficult to get the seat.

UDF has put on its priority list its presidential candidate Musalia Mudavadi and his running mate, Jeremiah Kioni. The party wants to ensure that the its presidential team retains a presence in the next dispensation.

For Narc- Kenya, outgoing Gichugu MP Martha Karua who is running for the presidency stands to be nominated to the senate if she does not make it to State House.

According to the Constitution, the National Assembly will have 12 nominated MPs to represent special interests including the youth, persons with disabilities and workers.

The Senate will have a total of 20 slots for nominations with 18 already reserved for women. There will be 16 women who will be nominated by the parties according to the proportion of their members elected to the senate.

There will also be two nominated members of either gender representing the youth and persons with disabilities respectively.

For the County Assembly, the number of those to be nominated in each county will remain unknown until after the results of the elections are announced and the gender parity of those elected is considered.

The number of nomination slots will be determined on the basis of how many more members are required to ensure that no more than two-thirds of the membership of the assembly are of one gender.

The parties have in the lists they have submitted to IEBC also included the names of individuals who qualify to represent special interests such as women, youth and persons with disabilities. However, the names of those who qualify have not been given priority.

Yesterday, the Institute for Education and Democracy’s Peter Aling’o asked IEBC to reject the party lists if they do not meet constitutional and statutory requirements.

He said the law was clear that nominations to either Parliament or the Senate were supposed to cater for special interest groups. He said the spirit of the law was to obtain proportional representation by drawing traditionally marginalized groups into Parliament or the senate.

“The argument that politicians who lose represent a ‘special interest’ is absurd. The law clear about who these special interest groups are and they are not politicians. The IEBC must ensure that the parties do not export their party nominations mess into the list of those to be nominated!,” Alingo said

He said those who have already been nominated by their parties to contest in the elections had no place in the nomination lists as they had already been given an opportunity to get elected.

“Why list for nomination people you believe will fail? This is aimed at defeating the law and the IEBC must save us from this situation,” Alingo added.

He said the list must not also meet the gender parity rule. “Anything short of that is fraud and IEBC must not allow itself to become part of the fraud. IEBC must reject these lists,” he said.

The IEBC has the powers to reject the parties’ lists of nominees if those nominated do not qualify to be elected to the office for which the nomination is sought.