Democracy needs free nominations

In Summary

• DP William Ruto has promised that nominations for UDA candidates next year will be free and fair

• There is a long history of party leaders rejecting nominated candidates in favour of their preferred representatives

Ballot box
Ballot box

Deputy President William Ruto yesterday promised that nominations to his United Democratic Alliance will be free and fair (see P7). He was speaking to leaders from 10 Rift Valley counties.

This is easier said than done. Party leaders in Kenya have a long history of overriding nominations in favour of their preferred candidates. And at election time, being an official party nominee can be a virtual guarantee of victory.

By contrast, Jubilee has been giving out negative signals before their National Delegates Conference at Kasarani Stadium on November 30. They have made it clear that only loyal members (i.e. those opposed to William Ruto) will be admitted. That sounds like the last kicks of a dying horse.

However, ODM seems very solid with its support base in Nyanza, Western, Coast and elsewhere. The veteran party also needs to ensure that its nomination process is free and fair because ODM has a history of shooting itself in the foot by locking out the most popular candidates.

At the end of the day, citizens will be disenfranchised if nominations are not free and fair. If citizens cannot vote for their preferred candidates, that undermines democracy in Kenya.

Quote of the day: "Dr Livingstone, I presume?"

Henry Morton Stanley 
The American journalist located missing missionary David Livingstone in Ujiji on November 10, 1871