By Jacob Ng’etich, Kepher Otieno and Stephen Makabila
Few of the purported contenders for the position in the party have the national stature or political weight required to earn a spot on the ticket with the front-runner in the 2013 presidential election.
On the other hand, those outside the party with the right credentials would have to defect into the fold in the next few months to be eligible to join the ticket. This is making the challenge of finding a running mate a nightmare for the Prime Minister.
Registrar of Political Parties Lucy Ndung’u says a presidential candidate can only pick a running mate from among registered party members.?“If two people want to partner, one of them must leave their party and join the partner that is in the presidential race,” she says.
“There is no short-cut.”?Others, however, see pre-election coalitions, which must be sealed by the end of November, as offering an avenue to draw in outside talent into the party (See separate story on Page 9).
Faced with slim pickings internally, some ODM leaders are trying to talk potential rivals in other parties into a pre-election deal with the promise Raila will be a one-term president. Deputy PM Uhuru Kenyatta, 51, and Eldoret North MP William Ruto, 45, are key targets for the running mate offer.
However, neither is showing any signs of interest in the deal. Uhuru is Raila’s strongest rival according to most recent opinion polls, while Ruto is influential in the populous Rift Valley region. The pairing of either one with Raila, 67, would be a game-changing political coup.
“ Raila is ageing and Uhuru and Ruto are still young,” Public Service Minister Dalmas Otieno told the Standard On Saturday.
“Why don’t we reward ( Raila) for the fight (to have reform) then he will leave it to the young (in 2017)?”
ODM Secretary-General Anyang Nyong’o confirmed the party has teams reaching out to party rivals.?“We are looking at various proposals to allow us make informed decisions at the right time,” Prof Nyong’o told The Standard on Saturday yesterday.
“We have to listen to the people and what they want. So if they demand we work with Uhuru or Ruto, we will have no choice but to do so.”?Lands Minister James Orengo, who is also among those allegedly tasked to reach out to Uhuru, says the one-term offer is legitimate and has merit.
Others said to be reaching out to Uhuru and Ruto include ODM chairman Henry Kosgey, Cabinet minister Franklin Bett and Assistant Minister Oburu Oginga. Kosgey and Bett are among the internal hopefuls for running mate.
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