Top Stories / 2017 Elections
Tuesday, 09 May 2017 09:20 EATpwanjiru@kenyafreepress.com
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission yesterday announced that it had cleared 3,880 aspirants to run as independent candidates in the August 8 general elections, a massive number that analysts have rightly pointed out as trumping the nominees in any single party.
Most of the aspirants cleared are seeking member of the county assembly (MCA) positions, but ten of them will be gunning for the highest office in the land - the presidency. Another twenty seven are seeking governorship positions, which will be the most watched in this election.
Some of the strongest candidates running on independent tickets either defeated incumbent governors in their party primaries only to lose the party certificates or bolted out of the primaries in anticipation of rigging.
Among the strong contenders include Bundotich Kiprop of Uasin Gishu, an insurgent candidate who gave governor Jackson Mandago in Jubilee Party a scare of his life primaries. Mr Mandago won only through the most blatant use of etnicity in the campaign, inciting the dominant Nandi tribe that they would lose the county to 'outsiders' if one of them didn't hold the governorship.
In Kitui, Senator David Musila, who resigned two weeks ago as Wiper Party chairman, lost the nomination certificate to the incumbent Dr Julius Malombe in a controversial exercise which Mr Musila claims he had won, and for which he accuses the party of going against the National Election Board (NEB) to have Malombe awarded the ticket. Mr Musila enjoys wide support in the county and has launched a dynamic campaign for the seat.
Also in the list is Dr Paul Otuoma of Busia County, who many believe to have beaten governor Sospeter Ojaamong during the ODM nominations. Dr Otuoma led in the vote count in five of Busia's seven constituencies, only for the governor to be announced the winner in the eleventh hour.
Dr Paul Otuoma.
In Nyamira, Mugirango West MP Dr James Gesami is also running as independent after resigning from ODM, where he lost the nomination to Mr John Nyangarama. The MP has rolled out an aggressive campaign on the ground and has the support of several parliamentary and MCA candidates also running as independents.
Murang'a Senator Kembi Gitura, who is also the deputy speaker of the upper house, lost narrowly in the Jubilee Party nomination to Kiharu MP Irungu Kangata and is building up a team that is expected to give Mr Kangata a run for his money.
Homa Bay gubernatorial candidate Oyugi Magwanga, who believes he was rigged out in the ODM nomination in favour of incumbent Cyprian Awiti, is also expected to give the governor run for his money. An ODM internal committee had ruled that Mr Magwanga won the nomination and should have been issued the party certificate.