With the general elections, called for August 2022, getting closer and closer, coalitions are beginning preparations. This week, both the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), led by Raila Odinga, at the head of the Azimio la Umoja coalition that also includes the Jubilee party of outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta, and the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) of Vice President William Ruto called for party primaries. Both will be held in the first half of April, with the UDA holding them on the 14th and the ODM in the first twenty-one days of the month, the last date allowed by the IEBC to support them. The parties will then have seven days to announce their official results.
Although the law authorises parties to deliver the list of candidates directly, the choice has been to defer to the democratic process the nominations for the personalities who will make up the government and other institutional positions after this summer’s elections.
For both parties, the question of the proper conduct of these primaries is crucial. The UDA has invited international observers to witness the proper democratic process of these. For the ODM, the past primaries have also seen acts of violence, especially in those counties where getting on the party list would give a virtually automatic victory in the general election. This is also why the Political Parties Amendment Act of 2021 has now allowed only party members to be eligible to contest elections for full nominations to parties. Indiscriminate access had created situations where political opponents had attempted to infiltrate to tamper with the voting. Again for the sake of fairness, the UDA will not declare candidates in order to avoid any kind of pressure from the Kenyan Deep State or any other form of corruption.