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SHITANDA, WANJIRU OUT OVER DEGREES

Friday, January 18, 2013 - 00:00 -- BY PETER NG'ETICH

Confusion, delays, rigging claims and last minute defections marked the party nominations held yesterday. While parties in the Cord alliance and UDF went ahead with their nominations, the TNA announced it will today hold nominations in all the centers where the exercise was delayed for lack of the ballots and voter register.

Housing Ministers Soita Shitanda of UDF and his assistant Bishop Margaret Wanjiru of ODM were among some of the personalities who failed to be nominated for lack of degrees.

An academic degree from a university recognized in Kenya is one of the minimum qualifications that anyone aspiring to be elected governor must have.

"Her academic papers fell short as per the requirements stipulated in the Constitution and the Elections Act," said ODM election Board chairman Frankline Bett. Bishop Wanjiru can however run for the senate or hope to become the women representative for Nairobi County.

Shitanda said he had two degrees although one is from a university not accredited to Kenya. He immediately announced he will defect to New Fork Kenya where he hoped to get the nomination certificate.

Former Town Clerk Philip Kisia who launched his campaign for the Nairobi gubernatorial seat a year ago and who was hoping to be the ODM candidate dramatically ditched the party for the little known Federal Party of Kenya.

In Mombasa, an ardent ODM and Raila supporter, former vice-chair of the Kenya National Commission for Human Rights Hassan Omar Hassan also quit the party for Wiper. He said his conscience would not allow him to continue supporting the candidacy of Ali Hassan Joho who is the party's Mombasa gubernatorial candidate as he had issues with the latter's integrity.

Others who defected from their parties at the last minute are former MPs Peter Mwathi and Robert Monda of Nyaribari Chache. They both defected from TNA and will be running on a Narc ticket.

The defectors and those intending to do so were warned yesterday by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission which said it would strictly implement the electoral laws and will not spare those who violate the legal requirements.

According to the Electoral laws, anyone who is found to belong to more than one political party risks being barred from participating in the elections. Parties are also not allowed to change their list of nominees once they have been presented to the IEBC.  Yesterday, the IEBC  extended the deadline for submission of the final list of nominees from today to 5 pm on January 21.

Minor scuffles were reported in various polling stations including Homa Bay, Kisumu, Migori and parts of Siaya. There was however tension after the nomination materials failed to arrive in most of the polling centers which has forced most of the parties to continue with the exercise today.

The ODM elections board chairman Franklin Bett said the exercise will also be repeated in counties where there were irregularities especially in Migori, Kisumu,Homa Bay. He said nominations in 44 counties went on without any major hitch.

Several Cabinet ministers and ex-MPs from different parties secured direct nomination tickets. They include Lands minister James Orengo who will run for the Siaya county senate seat: Public Works minister Chris Obure who will run for the Kisii county senate seat; Defence assistant minister who is the Wiper (Cord) candidate for the Kitui senate and his counterpart Joseph Nkaissery who will defend his Kajiado Central parliamentary seat oman ODM ticket.

Musila will face off with Water minister Charity Ngilu who is the Narc nominee for the same seat. Her ally Kiema Kilonzo also got himself a direct nomination as the Narc candidate for the Kitui gubernatorial seat.

Environment assistant minister Ramadhan Kajembe is ODM's choice for the Mombasa county senate seat which saw Hassan Omar ditch the party for Wiper which nominated him for the seat. Transport assistant minister Ali Hassan Joho is ODM's candidate for Mombasa governor.

Nominations in Nyeri were postponed until today. However ex-Mathira MP Ephraim is widely expected to be nominated as the TNA candidate for Nyeri county. It is anticipated that ex-Juja MP William Kabogo will clinch the TNA nomination for the Kiambu gubernatorial seat after his main challenger James Nyoro defected from TNA to Narc.

In Embu County, former minister Njeru Ndwiga was the sole TNA candidate for the senate race as was Martin Wambora who is in the race for governor.

In Kwale County, it was only in Lunga Lunga Constituency where nominations were held since all other positions had a single candidate within the Jubilee Coalition. Environment Minister Chirau Mwakwere is therefore the Jubilee coalition's candidate for the Kwale senate.

Former Ikolomani MP Boni Khalwale got a direct ticket for the Kakamega senate race under the UDF Musalia Mudavadi-led Amani coalition as did former Hamisi MP George Khaniri for the Vihiga senate race.

Other former MPs who were nominated unopposed former Lamu West MP Fahim Twaha who will be in the race for the Lamu senate; Mohammed Affey for the Garissa senate and and Wilbur Otichilo for the Emuhaya parliamentary seat.

Former Moi University don Kipchumba Murkomen went in unopposed is the URP candidate for the Elgeyo-Marakwet senate race. He will face off with former Cabinet minister Nicholas Biwott of New Vision Party ( Amani Alliance) and former nominated MP Tabitha Seii who is the ODM (CORD) nominee.

The gubernatorial race in Nairobi is expected to be between TNA's Jimnah Mbaru and ODM (Cord) Dr Evans Kidero. TNA was last meeting to discuss the fate of the former Embakasi MP Ferdinand Waititu.Former Kasarani MP Elizabeth Ongoro got a direct nomination for the Nairobi senate race.