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Monday, November 19, 2007

Party Nominations: Old Tricks Fail To Work

The old tricks that worked like a gem during the 2002 party nominations have this time failed to work.

Let me explain. In 2002 the Summit as it was then called made unilateral decisions and over-ruled the voters concerning various candidates who had lost party nominations countrywide and instead ended up handing over the precious nomination certificate to many losers. Many folks did not even know what the real nomination outcome had been in many areas of the country.

This time round things were very different. Voters have just said “No” and have complained bitterly. Using technological gadgets like the mobile phone and instant messaging online, as well as email, most Kenyans were very well informed on what was going on on the ground. What most people noticed was that those who had emerged as winners on the ground were often the losers when party headquarters released the names of nominated candidates to the press.

In some areas voters have been very incensed by what they see as a deliberate effort to impose candidates on them. Impeccable sources from the ground tell me that a significant number of voters in Kisumu rural have vowed not to vote in the general elections as a way of protesting the direct nomination of Prof Anyang Nyong. While these threats may quickly be forgotten when the campaign gets under way, it is clear how parties often shoot themselves in the foot by denying the electorate a say and instead imposing a candidate on them.

But even more disheartening are the candidates who campaign for months on end using hundreds of thousands of shillings and even millions, only to have rude shock when their bid is halted by a direct nomination.

Both PDM and PNU have been affected by nomination controversy although ODM seems to have been the hardest hit which is quite understandable considering the colossal number of aspirants the party had. The big question here is how many votes have been lost by presidential candidates as a result of trying to impose candidates on the people? And how many parliamentary seats will be lost?

Interestingly ODM-Kenya is the party that has most successfully managed the nomination process. Despite a few complaints (mainly from Ukambani), it is clear that Hoo Ndii Emmm (as we call them here in Kumekucha) were very well organized and have also gained some very strong candidates countrywide who were defeated unfairly.

P.S. The beating up of KJ (John Kiarie) who is the ODM aspirant for the Dagoretti parliamentary seat should be condemned in the strongest terms possible. The police should also move quickly to arrest those involved including the rival candidate who is said to have sent the goons to attack KJ. However the comedian’s resolve as he was interviewed in hospital while on his back is a clear message to the perpetrators of the violence that their actions have badly backfired and there is no doubt that KJ has won many sympathy votes from the incident.

It really is idiotic for somebody to have a rival beaten up simply because they have lost to them.


Vee said...

I feel really bad for what happened to KJ and all the people who've been hurt in the skirmishes since the nominations processes started. My apologies to all.

Meanwhile, this direct nominations thing was really unfair and I suspect it's tantamount to rigging people in. I also agree with you that a number of votes have been lost on the ground due to this actions.

Throughout this whole nominations process it's been sad to see the violence on screen esp the ones by ODM which seem very heated.

If PNU was on top of their game they would take the chance to ask Kenyans that if ODM can fight amongst themselves and hurt each other as they have... how much more would they do damage to the rest of the country if they don't get their way i.e not paying rent, not getting the many jobs that have been promised to them et al.

As I said "if" PNU is on top of their game. ODM has no problem playing chafu so why shouldn't PNU?

Anonymous said...

I am an ODM supporter but must admit that the fiasco of what was the nominations has left me very disturbed that ODM as a team are not ready to take over government.

My now "sympathy" vote will go to Raila for Presidency but not for MP where ODM have imposed arrogant people who feel their place is always guranteed. They will be shocked come December 27th.

If PNU win, ODM have themselves to blame and not many will feel pity on them.

jothomany said...

It is sad to see O.D.M. fail to seriously show how different they'd be if they were in government. I'm saddened by the level of disorganisation during the nominations.

How could O.D.M. get it so wrong with the logistics when they had over 305 million shillings in nomination fees? They couldn't buy ballot boxes? Could transport ballot papers to venues a day before nominations? They couldn't hire venues for voting?

It's truly sad and should, which from this fiasco now looks likely, they'll have put us back to another 5 years of a circus show. I suspect western province will be lost in a big way!

Anonymous said...

Yes there was chaos at the weekend and ODM seems to bear the hugest brunt. I disagree with Kumekucha that Ho-Ndi- em was more organised. In the media all three were similarly disorganised. The advantage ODM-K has is that its concentrated in one region hence the idea that they did not have similar issues. I clearly heard some aspirants complaining that incumbent MP's were favored with some ballot papers comig already marked.
I beleive direct nominations at the last moment was not a smart move. Nyongo should have been cleared along with the Pentagon.
Do not be cheated that the people shouting hatutaki Nyongo represent 100% of Kisumu rural- just think how easy is it to get a few youths allied to you chanting infront of TV camersa??
I beleive the guy would have won had he contested, its just that they did not realise this early enough.
On the flip side everyone likes going on and on about how people in Nyanza are colonised and worship RAO- this is a good thing becoz it proves otherwise. Do not be cheated by the bitter crowds it does not mean direct gains for ODM-K which is really celebrating neither can PNU open chapagne bottles due to this, lets see how things shape up. It's still a tight race.

Anonymous said...

I thought it had finally got into the heads of party leaders that wananchi wanted free and fair elections this time round. And that wananchi were even willing to forgive imposition of candidates in the past elections as long as change was going to take effect this year. But i was wrong yet again. They just dont get it.

The idea of introducing direct nominations, and to add salt to injury last minute ones, not only inconvenienced those who had been spending time and money campaigning, but for heavens sake there are people who resigned their jobs to vie for these positions. It would therefore have been fair to inform them of the unavailability of the seats they were hoping to win at the earliest opportunity, which was not the case.

Even as some say this was as a result of disorganisation on the part of party election secretariats, i am convinced this was a deliberate attempt to deny "strong" candidates a chance to defect to the "major" political parties. Obviously if one runs from say ODM to PNU or ODM-K they are a greater threat than when they end up in the smaller parties.

And what happened to all the money that was collected from aspirants? Some areas had no ballot papers or even boxes while some had insufficient numbers.

All in all it's a big CONGRATULATIONS to Kenyans for sending out a RESOUNDING NO to election malpractices from all corners of the country. That is the way forward.


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