IEBC announcement puts Raila at crossroads

Raila

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announcement that Presidential candidates in the August 9 general election must name their running mates by April 28 has thrown the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Alliance into disarray.

This means the presidential hopefuls have 10 days to name their second in command.

According to IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati, Presidential hopefuls should present names of their running mates on the date when they submit names of the nominated candidates…either themselves as independent candidates or through the party.

The Raila Odinga led alliance has maintained that the deadline for naming the running mate is in June.

Whereas the William Ruto led Kenya Kwanza alliance says it’s ready to name Ruto’s running mate, Azimio is still fidgeting on the suitable running mate.

“We have 11 days up to April 28 at 5 o’clock by close of business. A day in politics is like a year and 1,000 years in politics is like one day. We are content with the date,” said Johnson Muthama, the UDA party chairman.

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Muthama said they will unveil the running mate before the IEBC deadline.

“We are fully prepared for that and we will give it to Kenyans at the right time. We are not late. We are not squabbling about it like those on the other side. You can see how quiet we are and know we are set.”

Already, there is tension in Azimio as Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka maintains that Odinga should pick him as his running mate in the August polls. The Wiper boss hails from the Eastern region, hence complicating the matrix for the former Prime Minister.

Speculations are rife that Odinga is keen to nominate a running mate from the vote-rich Mt. Kenya region.

Leaders seen as Raila’s potential running mates are Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua, former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth, Equity Bank Group CEO James Mwangi and Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui.

“It doesn’t mean we are going to wait until the deadline but we will work with the timelines [in the law],” Professor Makau Mutua, spokesperson of Raila’s campaign team and head of his think tank said.

On the other hand, Ruto is under pressure to pick Amani National Congress (ANC) party leader Musalia Mudavadi as his running mate. Mudavadi joined forces with Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party to form the Kenya Kwanza coalition in January this year.

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