Presidential candidates could be caught off guard as the electoral commission is adamant they have only 10 days to name running mates.
The running mate slot remains a political hot potato for both ODM leader Raila Odinga as well as Deputy President William Ruto.
It is feared the deadline could trigger acrimonious fallings out.
In an interview with the Star, key Raila think tank experts said their candidate has until June to unveil a running mate, sharply differing with IEBC in interpretation of the law.
“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.
This was also the position taken by Jubilee secretary general Jeremiah Kioni, in a clear signal that Raila’s team was not ready to announce his second-in-command.
In fact, Raila is to fly out to the US on April 21, for a series of engagements that could last for one week.
“There is time, all the way until the nominations of the presidential candidates. There is a little bit more time [to pick a running mate]. The road is still long,” Kioni told the Star. He chairs the Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee.
However, IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati told the Star they expect presidential candidates to name their deputies by April 28.
“We expect to know their running mates on the date when they submit names of the nominated candidates…either themselves as independent candidates or through the party, if a political party candidate, this being April 28,” Chebukati said.
This basically means Raila and Ruto have up to Thursday next week to name their seconds-in-command.
The IEBC move could jolt Raila who is planning a one-week trip to the US when squabbling in his team over the number two slot has hit a crescendo.
Kalonzo and his Wiper brigade insist the running mate job is theirs but Raila’s supporters in Mt Kenya are also laying claim to the job.
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.
On Sunday, Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza team said they are ready any day to unveil their power lineup.
UDA chairman Johnson Muthama told the Star the coalition was fully prepared to nominate a candidate for deputy president.
“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,” Muthama said.
“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.”
The ANC side led by Musalia Mudavadi has previously insisted the number two slot should be reserved for Western.
However, the uproar that was triggered by Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala has since died down.
In Kenya Kwanza, Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, Mathira MP Rigathi Gachangua and Kandara MP Alice Wahome are touted as likely Ruto running mates.
Garissa Township MP Aden Duale, a staunch Ruto ally, said they will comply with the timelines set by the IEBC.
“We know where to get our running mate. We have a list of potential running mates. We will pick one that will make the people of Kenya happy,” he told the Star.
According to the Elections (General) Regulations, 2012, presidential candidates have to comply with three critical but separate electoral timelines.
First, a political party intending to present a presidential candidate shall submit the name of the person nominated to contest in the election to the IEBC on or before Thursday, April 28.
On or before May 23, presidential contenders are expected to deliver to the IEBC a list bearing the names, respective signatures, identity cards or passport numbers of at least 2,000 voters registered in each of a majority of the counties.
Almost a week later, between Sunday, May 29, and Monday, June 6, IEBC shall officially nominate contenders for the top job, both political party candidates and Independents.
“The nomination papers shall be delivered by the candidates, to the chairperson of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission between the hours of 8 o’clock in the morning and 1 o’clock in the afternoon and between the hours of 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock in the afternoon at a place designated by the Commission,” the regulations read.
Sourced from the star