Azimio plan to edge out Ruto in battle for majority seats - Beaking Kenya News

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Thursday, 23 June 2022

Azimio plan to edge out Ruto in battle for majority seats


Raila Odinga’s Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition is planning a radical approach that would see candidates among affiliates pushed out in favour of popular ones.

This is to ensure the outfit bags majority seats by putting the Azimio votes in one basket to deny Deputy President William Ruto-led Kenya Kwanza a competitive edge.

The Star has established that in the next few weeks, Raila’s presidential campaign team will convene regional meetings with aspirants from affiliate parties to build consensus.

A committee has been formed to winnow the list of aspirants and come up with one strong candidate with a high chance of winning.

The target is largely for the National Assembly and the Senate seats.

On Wednesday, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya confirmed that the team was at the tail-end of finalising a report that will provide the basis for the negotiations.

This is amid reports that opinion polls would provide the basis of the consensus which would see politicians give up millions they have been spending to secure votes.

“The exercise of reviewing the candidates’ list is not over yet. We were to meet on Tuesday but we have given the committee more time to look at the list,” Oparanya, who is the Azimio national executive council chairman, said.

Candidates from the Nairobi, Ukambani, Coast, Western, South Rift (largely Maa counties), Mt Kenya, and North Eastern regions are likely to be affected by the "painful but necessary" reorganisation.

“We want to focus on areas where we have huge support to ensure we don’t give our competition undue advantage because of split votes,” Oparanya said.

He said those who step down would be considered for state jobs should Raila win.

“The government is large. Of what benefit would it be for the coalition if they are on the ballot and they will not get much support?” he asked.

Both Raila and Azimio deputy presidential flagbearer Martha Karua have lately made the rallying call to the coalition members.

"We want to form a formidable team that will take our competition head-on," Karua said in Kirinyaga on Tuesday. 

In the Narok Senate race, the incumbent Ledama Olekina (ODM), Gideon Konchella (Jubilee), Meitamei Ololdapash (Ubuntu), Kiranto ole Nabaala (TSP), and Maloi Godfrey (NOPEU) are facing off.

Their bids are argued could give UDA candidate and incumbent Governor Samuel Tunai an easy sail to the legislature as they stand to split their votes.

“We have to be bold enough and make the painful decision. We don’t want a president without majority MPs in the Senate and National Assembly," Olekina said.

"If we all care about Raila winning, we have to make the decision and support the popular candidate."

He argued that where consensus cannot be reached, the coalition should pick a strong independent candidate and throw its weight behind their bids.

“If we cannot decide on a single candidate for Azimio, we will support another candidate. I am not just looking at my county but across the country," the senator said.

"This election is not about Olekina but the people of Kenya. Let’s rely on science and bring people to the table for consensus. Let us cry now rather than lose on August 9."

Political observers hold that the problem is more pronounced in Nairobi where the coalition has a number of candidates competing for MP seats.

In Makadara, Azimio affiliate parties have fielded George Aladwa (ODM), Mark Ndungu (Jubilee), and Fred Aketch (Wiper) against philanthropist Anthony Waithaka of UDA.

ODM and Wiper are also facing off in Embakasi South in the bids by Irshadali Sumra and Julius Mawathe respectively.

The parties are competing in Kasarani where Jubilee’s Mercy Gakuya is facing off with Tabitha Muteo of Wiper against UDA’s Billian Ojiwa.

Azimio also has two MP candidates for the Embakasi East seat currently held by Babu Owino. The two are battling it out with Francis Mureithi of UDA.

In Mathare, Jubilee is represented by artiste Kevin Kioko aka Bahati, while ODM’s Antony Oluoch is seeking to retain the seat which Wiper is also eyeing through Ben Milayi.

In Moyale constituency, Azimio has four contenders namely Roba Duba (Jubilee), Qalicha Gufu (UDM), Hassan Guyo (Wiper), Hassan Wario (DAP-K), Guyo Waqo (UPIA) and Chansa Abasa of ODM.

In Kibra, the duel would be between Yusuf Noah (DAP-K) and Peter Orero (ODM), who are both facing McDonald Mariga of UDA.

Ugenya MP David Ochieng’s Movement for Democracy and Growth party is also causing a sensation. It has fielded Pamela Owino to fight it out with Siaya Woman Representative Christine Ombaka of ODM.

The MP is also facing off with Daniel Odhiambo – a former Treasury economist of ODM.

In the Busia Senate race, activist Okiya Omtatah of National Reconstruction Alliance and Hillary Itela of ODM are both running against UDA’s Amoo Oude.

In Makueni Senate race, Governor Kivutha Kibwana is facing off with Wiper’s Dan Maanzo. The coalition also has governor candidates who are likely to split their votes.

Also in Makueni governor race, Oscar Masika of ODM is battling it out with Mutula Kilonzo of Wiper whereas Machakos has Wavinya Ndeti and Nzioka Waita fighting out to succeed Alfred Mutua.

In Kajiado, Governor Joseph Lenku and former county chief David Nkedianye are facing off through Azimio affiliate parties.

Kajiado North MP Joseph Manje, who is Nkedianye’s running mate, told the Star that the move would affect voting if not handled carefully, having come at the tail end of the campaigns.

“We went into this race because this is a Jubilee zone. We have four out of the five MP candidates. We also want to remove Lenku because he has failed to deliver. Are we saying we want to sacrifice a whole county?” the MP asked.

The dust is yet to settle in Kitui where David Musila and Julius Malombe are still in a tight race despite Raila imploring the incumbent Charity Ngilu to step down.     BY THE STAR  

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