President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga at the Azimio la Umoja Council meeting at KICC [Emmanuel Wanson, Standard]

All political formations must have nominated their running mates and handed over the names to the Independent, Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) by Thursday this week, the commission has declared.

In a letter responding to an earlier one by the Raila Odinga-led Azimio la Umoja secretariat, IEBC maintains that the end date for submissions of Presidential candidates and their running mates is April 28, 2022.

 The commission has shed light on the matter after Azimio la Umoja campaigns spokesman Prof Makau Mutua sought more time to submit the name of its running mate.

In a letter dated April 22, 2022, which The Standard is in possession, the commission said it was guided by the Law and its Election Operation Plan which was published in a special issue of the Kenya Gazette on January 20, 2022.

“…the Commission is cognizant of the fact that in the year 2017, the Commission received the names of the Presidential candidates and their Deputies as well as those of County Governors and their Deputies before the date of registration of candidates. The Candidate Registration Management System bears records vindicating this position. Indeed, this presents a solid precedent and it would be unsafe to depart therefrom.

“It is, therefore, our advice that you adhere to the Constitutional, statutory, and regulatory prescriptions,” reads the IEBC letter in part.

In a letter to the commission on April 19, Prof Mutua had asked for a postponement arguing that the initial timeline for the submission of names is between May 29 and June 6, 2022.

“The actual timeline for submission of the names of running mates is between Sunday 29th May 2022 to Monday 6th June 2022 when, as per your previous directives, nomination papers shall be delivered by each candidate to yourself as Chairperson of the Commission…

“Kindly issue the relevant clarification regarding this matter in order to comply with the provisions of the Constitution and also to allay the unnecessary anxiety caused by the erroneous timeline issued,” he enquired.

Already, Azimio la Umoja has tasked a seven-member team to assist in identifying the person to deputize Odinga and are expected to unveil their preferred candidate on April 28, the day that now appears to be the IEBC deadline

The coalition’s leader Raila Odinga has been under pressure to name his preferred running mate with Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka expressing optimism of clinching the running mate position.

“We are eyeing the running mate position. We don’t want to talk about the obvious,” he said during the launch of the Wiper People Living with Disabilities organ in Nairobi.

But leaders from Mt Kenya are of a contradicting view saying Odinga is better off with a running mate from the region in a bid to attract the electorate.

“He [Kalonzo] has been Odinga’s running mate twice and they did not get to where they were going. It is difficult to imagine that if he becomes the running mate again, they will get to where they are going,” Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu said in a previous interview.