The United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party primaries in the Rift Valley are shaping up to be a major headache, with candidates vying for grassroots support as well as Deputy President William Ruto’s support.
This comes amid concerns and fears from aspirants, especially in the Rift Valley region, that the nominations slated for April may be interfered with.
Counties like Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo, Kericho and Bomet have each attracted more than 700 aspirants for various elective posts as party officials say they are preparing for tough primaries.
UDA elections board chairman Anthony Mwaura said no aspirant will be favoured in any way or allowed to mess up with the exercise.
Mwaura dismissed as untrue the rumours that some aspirants may be favoured during the primaries.
“There have even been claims that some aspirants have already received the nomination certificates, while others say they have already won.
We have not even printed the certificates and I wonder which ones are some people talking about,” Mwaura said.
Despite guarantees of fair primaries, many hopefuls and party supporters are concerned that the process may be hampered, particularly in places where the DP’s close associates are present. Uasin Gishu County, for example, is a battleground for the DP’s close friends.
A major battle looms for the governorship of Uasin Gishu, notably in the race to succeed departing Governor Jackson Mandago.
While responding to Mandago’s concern Mwaura said the party will work to ensure services are done at branch offices.
Mandago is completing his two terms and will now vie for the Senate in Uasin Gishu.
“We want to do an international kind of nominations where even external observers will participate because we are building a huge movement that will unite this country,” Mwaura said.
Mandago also called on the UDA steering team to put in place mechanisms that will ensure every region’s needs are captured in the party manifesto to uplift the economy through the bottom-up economic model.