Jubilee, ODM in confusion after twin blow in Nairobi gubernatorial by-election
Jubilee and ODM parties have been caught in a catch-22 situation on whether or not to proceed with preparations for the Nairobi gubernatorial by-election.
This follows a Monday court ruling suspending the February 18 by-election until matters brought before it by former Governor Mike Sonko are heard and determined.
Throwing a spanner in the works, petitioner Peter Agoro also withdrew his petition challenging the nomination of Nairobi Disaster Management and Coordination Chief Officer Anne Mwenda as deputy governor.
The new developments have thrown into disarray preparations by the leading parties leaving them confused on whether the mini-poll will proceed as planned or it will be rescheduled.
Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju admitted to have been surprised by the court order temporarily suspending the mini poll, he however said they will continue with the preparations.
Tuju said they were already in the process of settling on their preferred candidate before engaging their handshake candidates for a joint lineup but the order by the court means they have to go back to the drawing board.
The ruling party secretary general also revealed that negotiations between Jubilee Party and ODM were ongoing in order to unveil their handshake candidate.
However, the plan was for Jubilee to first sort out its candidature and then proceed to have discussions with the orange party to arrive at a final lineup for the Nairobi by-election.
“We were pretty close to unveiling the joint candidature but then the court ruling happened. With this ruling, that came to us as a shock, we don’t know whether to continue or not. It is a difficult situation for us,” said Mr Tuju.
“Although, the courts have spoken, we are preparing ourselves so that just as soon as the by-election is allowed to proceed, then we hit the ground running,” he added.
Jubilee had already cleared two candidates namely former Dagoretti South MP and Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) co-chair Dennis Waweru and businesswoman Agnes Kagure to battle it out for the party’s ticket.
On his part, ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna said the court ruling had indeed put brakes on their preparations as they await for the final verdict.
Sifuna said Raila Odinga’s party will still continue with talks over the same so as not to be caught unprepared should a go ahead for the by-election be granted by the courts.
“The court order means that we have to wait. The hearing is on January 14 but I anticipate that by end of the month we will have a judgement on the same. It will however necessitate for timelines to be extended given that candidates are not yet announced, materials not yet procured and not printed, meaning the process cannot be concluded within 18 days,” said Mr Sifuna.
“We might have to recover the time lost due to the court process if they say the by-election will continue,” he added.
On Monday, Justice Antony Mrima temporarily suspended the special gazette notice issued by IEBC last month calling for a by-election in Nairobi after governor Mike Sonko’s impeachment.
The judge ruled that the mini poll would be temporarily suspended pending the hearing and determination of the application filed by Mr Sonko challenging his impeachment.
This gave the former Nairobi governor temporary reprieve in his quest to overturn his ouster after the court barred IEBC from conducting the by-elections.
Mr Sonko was ousted by the Nairobi County Assembly on December 3 on charges of gross violation of the constitution or any other law, abuse of office, gross misconduct and crimes under national law.
The decision was later upheld by the Senate on December 17 after some 27 senators voted in favour of each of the charges kicking the flamboyant politician out of office.