Top Stories / 2017 Elections
Saturday, 22 Apr 2017 14:11 EATnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.com
President Uhuru Kenyatta today apologised to Jubilee Party supporters for the chaos witnessed during the party's primaries on Friday. The party did not conduct a single election and put off the entire exercise until a new date is announced.
Speaking at State House in the company of his deputy William Ruto and the party's secretary general Raphael Tuju, the president said his party had not expected the large turnout of voters during the primaries, hence the insufficient preparedness that was witnessed throughout its strongholds.
The exercise was marked by fighting among aspirants amid a logistical failure by the party, with many polling stations lacking basic ballot materials including ballot papers and voters' registers. In many polling stations in Kiambu and Nakuru where the voting was covered by television channels, not ballot papers had arrived as late as 3pm.
"Nobody expected the kind of turnout we saw yesterday and that is how the shortage came in", the president said, invoking the figure of 30 percent. However, this justification flew in the face of assurances from Jubilee Party leaders about the vote in the run-up to D-Day. After robust internal debates, the party resolved to use the 2013 voters' register for the primaries and its officials had committed to providing all logistics for voters in that roll.
As the law provides that political parties should use their respective registers of members in conducting internal elections, Mr Tuju had throughout his briefings held that all party members would vote in the process, explaining that the IEBC 2013 register would be used to confirm the names of registered party members.
In fact, even as the problems began to crystallise on Friday, Mr Tuju put a brave face telling journalists that the party had sufficient ballot materials and if by any chance the materials run out in one part of the country, then they would kick off a backup mechanism including delivery of the same by air to where they were needed. He said the party had eight helicopters on standby to supply materials as needed.
On top of this, the president himself had twice urged all Jubilee Party members to turn out for the exercise and his remarks were also well reported by the mainstream media. So the notion that the party had prepared for only a limited turnout isn't supported by the public record of its leaders' statements. The mess was certainly much larger, as Mr Tuju himself initially did not know that the exercise had been cancelled and was confronted by the news in the way of a question from a journalist at a press conference.
Speaking at State House today, the president said the party remained committed to free, fair and credible nominations and that a new date for the exercise will be announced later today. "The NEC and party leadership will issue a new timetable in accordance with the IEBC timeline," he said, declaring, "This time, we will be fully prepared."
He also declared his "full confidence" in the party leadership. "I am proud to be the leader of a party that can turn out the kind of numbers we saw yesterday," he added, he said in praise of the party leadership as Mr Tuju stood beside him.
Below is the president's full statement on the issue-
STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY HON. UHURU KENYATTA, C.G.H., LEADER OF THE JUBILEE PARTY, ON THE JUBILEE NOMINATION PROCESS AT STATE HOUSE, NAIROBI ON 22ND APRIL 2017
Yesterday was unprecedented for the Jubilee Party. While the party was prepared for a normal Party Primary, we were confronted by a full scale general election in terms of the sheer massive turnout we all witnessed.
To the millions of party faithful who turned out to vote, and to the thousands of party aspirants who turned out to compete for party tickets, we unreservedly apologise for our under-preparedness for the magnitude of the nominations exercise.
The Jubilee Party is committed to free, fair, transparent and credible nominations, which as we have repeatedly stated, must reflect the will of the people.
Because of this commitment, we also took another unprecedented and difficult decision to cancel the entire nominations exercise, because doing anything to the contrary may have resulted in a subversion of the democratic will of the people.
Even in places like Laikipia, West Pokot, Tharaka Nithi, Nyandarua and Taita Taveta, where voting had largely been completed with the support and cooperation of aspirants, we also took the decision to cancel the nominations.
The Party leadership and the National Elections Board are now remapping the entire process to address all the shortcomings we experienced. A detailed revised primaries timetable will be issued by the party headquarters today, in accordance with the IEBC timelines.
I assure you personally that, as we move forward, we will learn from our mistakes, and have taken corrective measures to ensure that they are not repeated.
I urge all party members to keep the faith. We assure you that the Jubilee Party will deliver on its promise for a transparent, fair, and credible Primary.