The Orange Democratic Movement suffered a major blow Friday after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) stood by its decision stopping party nominations which were scheduled to kick-off Saturday in Bungoma, Busia and Turkana.
Commission Chairman Wafula Chebukati had clashed with ODM on the dates for holding party primaries, with the IEBC Chairperson insisting all party primaries should be conducted between April 13 and April 26 after the Commission gazettes names of all aspirants from respective political parties.
In a statement after an internal commission meeting held Friday morning, Chebukati maintained that party primaries can only be held after aspirants’ names are gazetted.
Section 31 (2C) of the Election Act requires the Commission to publish the names of persons contesting in a party primary and the date of the party primary within seven days of receipt of the names of the party candidates.
The deadline for submitting the names was on April 5.
“The Commission is in the process of publishing the names received from the political parties in the gazette in accordance with the law. Parties may proceed to hold their primaries in accordance with the Commission’s timelines once the candidates have been published in the Kenya Gazette,” Chebukati said in a statement to newsrooms.
ODM Party National Elections Board Chairperson Judith Pareno had previously maintained that its primaries would go on as scheduled.
Pareno insisted that they had submitted their party list of nominees on March 30.
“ODM primaries to go on as scheduled. Exercise to begin on April 8 in Bungoma, Busia, Machakos,” ODM Director of Public Communications Phillip Etale posted on his Twitter handle.
The Orange party had staggered primaries between Saturday and April 21.
The first batch of the counties that were set to hold their primaries were Bungoma, Machakos and Busia, with Nairobi, Makueni and Garissa being the last three on April 22.
The Jubilee Party is set to hold all its primaries for 7,893 aspirants on April 21.
According to IEBC timelines for nominations of candidates, political parties in the country have until April 26 to nominate their candidates for Governor, Senate, National Assembly, County Woman Representatives and Member of County Assembly (MCAs).
Chebukati further clarified that parties which directly select their nominees for election shall submit the list of persons selected to contest in the election on or before May 10.
ODM on Monday handed direct nomination certificates to 850 candidates who were unopposed by the closure of the deadline of return of nominations papers.