Big names fall by wayside in chaotic party primaries rocked by delays and violence

Political parties on Thursday learnt a humbling lesson in election logistics as they bungled their nominations and were forced to carry them over to Friday.

Delays in the delivery of ballot papers, confusion, violence, and rigging allegations marred the exercise which the parties had deliberately moved close to the January 18 deadline to prevent defections.

In areas where the nominations did take place, there was shock as prominent figures were rejected by members or qualified on technicalities.

Housing minister Soita Shitanda was barred by the United Democratic Forum from running for the governor of Kakamega County because he does not have a degree.

His assistant, Bishop Margaret Wanjiru, was prevailed upon by the Orange Democratic Movement elections board to run for a seat that does not require a university degree. She wanted to be the governor of Nairobi.

The much-awaited battles in places such as Nairobi, Makueni and Kisumu were an anti-climax because they were pushed to Friday.

In Bomet, the fight between outgoing MPs Isaac Ruto (Chepalungu) and Julius Kones (Konoin) was also postponed while violence and logistical problems pushed back the confrontation between former Communications Commission of Kenya board chairman Philip Okundi and Nairobi businessman Cyprian Awiti.

In Kakamega, Mr Shitanda’s woes handed the UDF ticket to former Nyanza PC Paul Olando.

In Machakos, the contest between former Mwala MP Mutua Katuku and former Government Spokesman Alfred Mutua for the Wiper gubernatorial ticket was hit by delays. The outcome will be known on Friday.

The expected face-off between Wiper secretary-general Mutula Kilonzo and assistant minister Gideon Ndambuki was also pushed to Friday.

The battle between outgoing Gachoka MP Mutava Musyimi and Col (rtd) King’ang’i Muturi for the Mbeere parliamentary ticket was delayed for five hours.

A last-minute decision by Hassan Omar to ditch ODM and seek nomination on a Wiper ticket deflated an eagerly anticipated battle for the ODM ticket.

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