May 28, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Raila and Ruto keep running mate cards close to their chests

Kenya’s two top contenders to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta continue to hold their cards in the running mate election ahead of the May 16 deadline for submitting names to the Electoral Commission.

Vice President William Ruto and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the front-runners in the Aug. 9 election, have reportedly reduced their shortlist of vice-presidency candidates to about five each — including two former vice-presidents, county governors, and former and incumbent cabinet ministers. p>

Mr Odinga’s campaign team on Wednesday appointed a committee to interview candidates and recommend a suitable running mate for them by May 10, using a new window set up by the Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission ( IEBC) was opened to submit the names of party candidates for President and Vice President.

The two presidential candidates joined their ranks to push for an extension of the IEBC’s nomination deadline from April 28.

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But none of them want to take the first step amid concerns about possible infighting within their coalition parties and the possibility of handing over the initiative to opponents in the Swing and Battlefield voting blocs.

Mr Odinga’s Azimio One Kenya Coalition party has been plagued by public rows over the vice president for the past two weeks, with former vice president Kalonzo Musyoka claimed the position based on his perceived political seniority, party strength and personal history with Mr. Odinga. Mr Musyoka, who was Mr Odinga’s vice presidential candidate in the 2013 and 2017 elections, abandoned his own presidential ambitions and backed his presidential bid for a third time in March in a deal brokered by President Kenyatta.

He initially said his Support for Mr Odinga is unconditional but has since changed minds, warning that the former PM would lose the election if he [Mr Musyoka] is not on the coalition list.

Mr Musyoka’s Wiper Democratic Movement Party enjoys a fairly loyal following in the country’s Lower Eastern region, Ukambani – a fact he was keen to capitalize on in his bid for the Vice President position.

But Mr Odinga is torn, whether to stay with his second-term running mate and pick a new one from the Mt. Kenya region, whose huge basket of votes is proving to be the most coveted among the the annual elections. There is no credible ethnic candidate in Mt. Kenya as President Kenyatta retires, making the region, which has produced three of Kenya’s four presidents, an unlikely swing voter bloc in this year’s polls.

Among those associated with the Vice President are Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru and Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki.