Tension high in Kahawa Wendani Ward as Jubilee cancels nominations
Tension heightened at Kahawa Wendani ward in Kiambu County on Tuesday after Jubilee Party cancelled primaries without officially informing all the aspirants.
By 10.30am, election materials had not arrived from the party headquarters as the nine aspirants said there was no communication on whether the primaries would take place.
As early as 6.30am, the aspirants and their supporters had camped at the chief's office where the polling materials were expected to be dropped, but there were no presiding officials and the venue was jammed with police in riot gear.
The aspirants expressed fear that the voters would be denied a chance to nominate a candidate of their choice for the December 15 by-election which was called following the death of former area Member of County Assembly Cyrus Omondi.
Unconfirmed reports indicated that the party had given the ticket to one of the aspirants through a vetting process.
Jubilee Vice-chairman David Murathe could not be reached for comment.
Rose Karimi, one of the aspirants, said they were informed on Monday night that the matter was being handled by the Kiambu Jubilee County Election Board, but they were still in the dark.
Another aspirant Samuel Mboshe expressed disappointment at the delay and lack of communication from the party headquarters and added that it would be unfortunate if democracy does not prevail in the nomination.
A voter James Muhoro said they had woken as early as 4.00am ready to participate in the party primaries and that it would be unfair for the party to derail the nomination process.
On Sunday, Kiambu Governor James Nyoro assured residents that the county government had no preferred candidate in the Kahawa Wendani ward by-election.
Nyoro who met the aspirants at the ACK St Martin’s Church in Kahawa Wendani ahead of the Jubilee party nominations slotted for Tuesday assured the contestants that the party will support whoever is nominated by the people.
The Governor said the county government is not backing any of the aspirants in the nomination and urged those who lose the ticket to rally behind the winner rather than swap parties.
"As a county government we have no preferred candidate. We shall let the people choose a candidate of their choice without undue influence," said Nyoro who was accompanied by his Deputy Dr Joyce Ngugi, former Ruiru Member of Parliament Esther Gathogo and a number of MCAs.
The seat has attracted 13 aspirants with nine of them eyeing the Jubilee ticket including a brother to the deceased, Kevin Ochieng who is a Moi University procurement graduate.
Also seeking the Jubilee ticket are Ms Karimi who contested and lost to Omondi in the 2017 elections, Mr Mboshe, business woman Margaret Wanjiku, clergyman Bernard Kariuki, John Gachoka 'Gash', David Rukwaro, Ben Wa Gas and Brian Sinne.
Other aspirants on different parties are Derrick Mbugua (Wiper Party), David Kebaso (Party of Economic Democracy), Eric Ouma (New Democrats Party) while Hellen Kiragu will be running as an independent candidate.
Ms Karimi, Ms Kiragu and Ms Wanjiku asked Wendani voters to give a woman a chance to lead them and called for a free and fair nomination exercise.
Ms Kiragu said she was eyeing the Kanu ticket but the party, like ODM, decided not to field a candidate, prompting her to vie as an independent candidate.
Additional reporting by Njange Maina