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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Raila and Uhuru struggle to make independents step down

Independent candidates seek clearance certificates from the Registrar of Political Parties on May 4 /PATRICK VIDIJA
Independent candidates seek clearance certificates from the Registrar of Political Parties on May 4 /PATRICK VIDIJA
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his NASA rival Raila Odinga are in a fix to compel independent candidates to step down for aspirants with party tickets in their strongholds.
Adamant independents have said it is the electorate who will decide their fate on August 8. They have accused Uhuru and Raila of trying to deny voters their democratic right by imposing leaders on them.
Uhuru and Deputy President William Ruto have launched a series urging independents to step down.
The two had been soft on independents backing them until aspirants with tickets threatened to support the opposition if they did not pile pressure on their rivals to quit.
Raila and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka have been hard on independents, disowning them and asking voters to elect candidates with their party tickets to have enough numbers in Parliament and the county assemblies.
NASA’s stand on independents has, however, taken a new dimension after Raila’s wife Ida Odinga reportedly urged Nyanza residents to pick leaders of their choice, including independents.
Ida, accompanied by independents Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma and Senate aspirant Ochola Ogoda, to a church service at Voice of Salvation and Healing Church in the county, told residents to vote for Raila
“Use your vote wisely to chose your leaders but I would say choose Raila Amollo Odinga as President, there is no compromise there,” she said.
ODM political affairs director and Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, however, yesterday told the Star on the phone that Ida did not endorse the election of independents because “she knows the party and its leader’s position on them”.
“What Mama Ida said was conveniently taken out of context both by the media and politicians who were around. It is a misrepresentation of facts. Raila’s vote goes hand in hand with a supporting team for MP, governor, senator, MCA and woman representative seats in the party,” he said.
ODM leader Raila, his Wiper counterpart Kalonzo and other NASA Pentagon co-principals - Musalia Mudavadi (ANC), Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya) and Bomet Governor Isaac Rutto (CCM) - told voters to back candidates with their tickets because “independents do not share party ideologies”.
“I have constantly urged them to adhere to the wishes of the people, but they have insisted on running as independents. Let them not deceive you using my name to satisfy their selfish interests,” Raila said.
Most independents have refused to step down, arguing that the April nominations were mismanaged and unfair.
Both NASA and JP leaders have urged independents to step down and they have been promised positions in the government if they win.
Uhuru and Ruto on Sunday, during their rally at the Thika Stadium in Kiambu county, waged a war on independents by asking their supporters to elect only JP nominees, from the President to MCAs.
Independent candidates including Governor William Kabogo gave the rally a wide berth.
“I ask you to give us leaders we will be able to work with. Many of them are here, I don’t know where our governor has gone but Baba Yao is here, Mama County is here. I ask you to support them so that we can have one government. Have we agreed Thika and Kiambu?” Uhuru said.
Kabete MP Ferdinand Babayao is JP’s governor candidate for Kiambu.
Ruto told residents to vote six-piece and said independents are “doomed”. Murang’a Senator Kembi Gitura, defending his seat as an independent, yesterday faulted Jubilee leaders for asking voters to reject other candidates.
He told the Star, “Nobody has approached me to step down. I am asking the people of Murang’a to vote for me.”
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