Parties in battle for numbers after divisive internal polls
Battle for control of the next government has formally begun after leading political parties issued tickets to aspirants days after holding nominations that were largely turbulent.
Even as they struggle to contain fallouts following the dissatisfactory primaries, the focus has now shifted to which outfit will go home with the largest number of seats once votes are cast on August 9.
Other than the quest to win the presidential race, parties are paying great attention to gubernatorial and parliamentary contests, doing as much to field strong candidates to up their chances of winning as many MP and senatorial seats as possible.
This is informed by the probable challenge a president could face if his party fails to garner enough numbers in the National Assembly and Senate, which are vital for the passage of critical pieces of legislation or motions that would aid the enactment of key policies in their manifestoes.
With an expanded Parliament that now has 349 MPs and 67 senators, the bar to acquire majority of members is high.
For any ruling party, getting more than half of the members in both Houses is a good start as it gives them a better chance to negotiate with other parties to consolidate its presence and boost ease of conducting business within them.
There is also the raging battle for control of county assemblies and Council of Governors, both critical organs in running of the devolved units.
Azimio-One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga is banking on the coalition that brings together over 20 parties to deliver the magic number while his rival for the top seat, Deputy President William Ruto is relying on his party, the United Democratic Alliance to achieve this.
The DP has also crafted the Kenya Kwanza alliance, bringing together 12 parties he expects to help him get adequate numbers in both Houses. Jubilee, led by President Uhuru Kenyatta, is also looking at maintaining its popularity despite suffering fractures after Ruto left the outfit to form UDA.
The importance of numbers in Parliament was captured by Jubilee Director of Elections Kanini Kega, who said the ruling outfit was doing everything possible to stamp its authority in all the legislative organs after the August polls.
“In the next Parliament we want to have the majority of members coming from Jubilee. In the next Council of Governors we want to have the majority coming from Jubilee. We also want majority of MCAs to come from the party,” Kega said.
Jubilee is targeting most of the seats in its Mt Kenya strongholds. The party, which is attempting to claw back gains by UDA in the region, is fielding candidates in all the elective seats except governorship in Meru where incumbent Governor Kiraitu Murungi is defending his seat on Devolution Empowerment Party.
UDA is fielding candidates in all the counties in an attempt to obtain majority in most of the county assemblies as well as in the bicameral Parliament.
For governor’s seat, Jubilee is fielding candidates in 42 counties with the remaining left to the Kenya Kwanza partners. For Senate, it has handed certificates to 44 aspirants and 45 Woman Reps.
Uhuru-led party will also be battling for 274 MPs seats and 1340 MCAs.
Partner parties; Amani National Congress and Ford Kenya are also keen to have their presence felt nationally as they are fielding candidates across the country.
Musalia Mudavadi’s ANC is sponsoring 14 candidates for governor, 16 senators and 116 MPs.
It was still compiling MCA aspirants as at yesterday but it is expected to field in more than 1,000 Ward Reps. “ANC party remains committed to the democratic ideals as enshrined in our Constitution,” said Mudavadi.
Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetangula said the party will field five governor contestants, five senatorial aspirants, 230 for both MP and Woman Reps and over 500 MCAs.
ODM is also expected to field candidates across the country although it might avoid contests in Mt Kenya region where Azimio partner Jubilee has interests.
ODM party Director of Communication Philip Etale told People Daily that the breakdown of the party’s aspirants will be out today. “The list will be ready by tomorrow April 28,” he said.
Parties are expected to submit lists of their aspirants to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission by today.
Hundreds of UDA aspirants who got their certificates yesterday at Hustlers Centre in Nairobi said they will deliver wins for the DP’s party.