9 January 2013

Kenya: Mudavadi, Kenneth, Kiyapi Headache Over Running Mate

PRESIDENTIAL candidates outside CORD and Jubilee are racking their brains on whom to pick as running mates.

The deadline is still three weeks away on January 29 when the presidential candidates have to advise the IEBC of who will run with them for deputy president.

But with the election only eight weeks away, they badly need their running mates to boost the momentum of their campaigns.

Advisers for Amani candidate Musalia Mudavadi have now shortlisted four names, according to multiple sources.

The front runner is former President Daniel arap Moi's son Gideon, followed by former Mwatate MP Marsden Madoka, Mogotio MP Hellen Sambili, and Energy minister Kiraitu Murungi. Former Cherenganyi MP Kipruto Arap Kirwa has been knocked off the list.

Last night the technical teams for the Amani Coalition were scheduled to finalize the possible running mates for Mudavadi after looking at the opinion polls.

"We are still looking at the numbers and what value each one of them can bring to the Mudavadi ticket," said a source familiar with the talks.

However not all the preferred names may be available.

Gideon Moi has apparently now concluded that it might be safer to target the senate seat in Baringo and then aim to become the Leader of Majority if Mudavadi becomes president.

Kiraitu has reportedly also decided that he would prefer to go for the Meru senator's seat.

The Amani Coalition was formed last week out of Mudavadi's UDF, Gideon's Kanu, Justice minister Eugene Wamalwa's New Ford Kenya, Nicholas Biwott's New Vision Party, and Shirikisho party.

Peter Kenneth of the Kenya National Congress is also expected to name his running mate in the next ten days.

Raphael Tuju of the Party of Action is the odds-on favourite as the two have formally entered into a pre-election pact named the Eagle Coalition.

Yesterday, Planning assistant minister Kenneth said the final choice of running mate will be announced soon.

"Consultations are on, and we have left it open. I am sure we will in a matter of days reach a conclusion and make it public," said Kenneth.

Presidential hopeful Martha Karua has indicated that she will name her running mate tomorrow.

It is understood that Karua will choose former East African Legislative Assembly MP Augustine Lotodo as her Deputy.

Yesterday Narc Kenya held a National Executive Committee meeting that endorsed Karua's candidature.

The party will hold its National Delegates Conference to Endorse Karua and Lotodo on Monday.

Restore and Build Kenya party leader Prof James ole Kiyiapi had tasked a committee to find a running mate for him but it has delayed in presenting its final decision. Kiyiapi had promised to name his running mate by the end of 2012.

He wants a running mate who is credible and shares the same ideology.

Insiders in RPB yesterday said that Kiyapi is interested in picking a woman from outside his home area of Rift Valley.

Since December Mudavadi, Kenneth and Kiyapi have been playing a cat and mouse game with each other.

After Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta reneged on his deal to make Mudavadi the Jubilee presidential candidate, Musalia went back to Kenneth.

He had been on the verge of signing an electoral pact with Kenneth before being seduced by the promise of being the Jubilee candidate.

Mudavadi was interested in Kenneth as his running mate because he comes from Central region and appeals to young voters. His approach was rejected by Kenneth who, according to those close to him, is determined to have his name on the presidential ballot paper.

Kenneth was apparently also uncomfortable with the track records, especially on integrity, of some members of the Amani alliance.

Mudavadi, according to insiders, then shifted his focus to Energy minister Kiraitu Murungi.

Murungi however declined the offer as his Alliance Party of Kenya said that it will not be supporting any presidential candidate and will leave its members to make independent decisions. Murungi has decided to stick to the Meru county senator seat.

That forced Mudavadi to shift his focus to Moi though he had been toying with the idea of former Cherangany MP Kipruto arap Kirwa as his running mate.

"There have been some influential forces which want Mudavadi to name Gideon Moi as his running mate hopping it will bring to him substantial votes from Rift Valley," said a UDF insider yesterday.

UDF National Election Board chairman Andrew Limo yesterday told the Star the party has not yet finalised Mudavadi's running mate.

While this was going on, Kenneth was reportedly trying to woo ole Kiyapi as his running mate.

Kiyapi insisted that he must be on the ballot as a presidential candidate since he has vision from God that he will succeed President Kibaki after March 4.

Kenneth has since then considered several other individuals but insiders have indicated that Tuju remains his most probable running mate.

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