Michuki, Saitoti, Ojode seats declared vacant
House Speaker Kenneth Marende yesterday issued writs declaring Kangema, Kajiado North and Ndhiwa parliamentary seats vacant and paved way for by-elections. This means that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) will be required to conduct by elections in the three constituencies within the next two months.
The seats fell vacant after the deaths of Environment Minister John Michuki who was MP for Kangema, Internal Security Minister Prof. George Saitoti who represented Kajiado North and his assistant Orwa Ojodeh who was MP for Ndhiwa. Michuki died in February after an illness while Saitoti and Ojodeh perished in plane crash at Ngong forest along other four Police officers on June 10. On Tuesday, IEBC indicated that it can and is able to carry out the three by-elections within the seven months remaining before the March 4 general election.
Commission chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan said the only hitch is that only those who are in the current voters registers in these three constituencies will be allowed to participate. "We don't have cash at hand but as we have done before, we ask Treasury and they have never failed us with the dozen by-elections we have carried out,” said Hassan.
The issuance of the writs by the Speaker has now thrown key political parties into a spin as they strategise on how to campaign for their respective candidates. Already, The Party of National Unity has asked Uhuru Kenyatta’s The National Alliance not to field candidates in Kangema and Kajiado North parliamentary seats. According to PNU organising Secretary Maina Kamanda, the two seats belonged to the PNU and the two ministers were members of President Kibaki’s coalition government through PNU. He has argued that it will be unfair if Uhuru’s party field candidates against PNU during the by election.
Reports are also that TNA is consulting with Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper Democratic Movement over the possibility of fielding a joint candidate in Kajiado North constituency. The two parties are said to be weighing the options of jointly supporting politician Moses Ole Sakuda. Sakuda, who was once based in New York, USA, where he served as an associate director in charge of programmes in Africa with the Church World Services however, challenged Saitoti in 2007 on an ODM ticket but was defeated.
He is said to have since changed his political alliance from ODM. On the other hand, businessman Solomon Kinyanjui, a long time ally of Uhuru, is reportedly considering crossing over to ODM and secure a ticket to vie against Sakuda. The Speaker issued the writs following the assent of the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act 2012 by President Kibaki that cleared a legal hurdle that had obstructed the by-elections. There had been a legal lacuna because the enactment of the Elections Act repealed the National Assembly and Presidential Elections Act, which empowered the Speaker to declare vacancies.