Was Jubilee Nomination Fail Strategic or Negligent?
Jubilee party primaries to pick candidates for August 2017 poll was nullified yesterday evening by the party Head of Secretariat Raphael Tuju following a shambolic display of management by the party officials. Raphael Tuju attributed the failure to underestimation of voter turnout which overwhelmed the resources allocated for the nominations in 21 counties.
Unrest was experienced in some of the counties like Kirinyaga, Nandi and Kericho where youths protested following the disbandment of the nomination results. Other counties like West Pokot decided to turn a deaf ear to the party Head of Secretariat nullification of all results. One hour following the announcement, votes was still being counted in Sigor polling station and results were declared.
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Some polling stations decided to use the “mlolongo” voting system where voters supporting an aspirant stood in a straight line to be counted due to lack of sufficient voting papers. This is extremely rudimentary and undemocratic from a party that is flaunting electronic cards for member registration.
The explanation fronted by the Jubilee Head of Secretariat was not sufficient to calm the nerves of the disgruntled public. Apart from insufficient voting papers, there were irregularities in the conduction of the polls and substantial delays in delivery of documentation. Claiming that the party under estimated turnout was just a low blow since the same party is responsible for registering the said members.
If this was not negligence, was it then strategic? Opposition party ODM nominations was also merged with similar calamities but was a bit smoother. This may lead one to speculate a strategic move from Jubilee party leaders to achieve one of the two outcomes below.
First, the heat generated from failure of the nomination polls may have been minimal compared to the disgruntled losers of the poll outbursts. Losers would have been unable to join other parties but would have to vie as independents if they were knocked out during nominations. With Jubilee having the most aspirants contesting for Jubilee tickets during general elections, their nominations would be marred with significant hiccups that may have affected the party’s popularity.
Second, the poll failure may have been engineered to be a mock poll to taste the waters. Jubilee may have wanted to offer direct nominations to some party individuals and the only way to predict the outburst following the direct nominations was through a mock poll hence the failed nominations. Alternatively, they may justify direct nominations claiming that voting nominations were not feasible following the failed poll.
Stepping aside from speculation, the failed poll may be a case of negligence from the party leaders in conducting their mandate. However you view it, the failed poll has tainted the image of Jubilee party which had set itself apart as a force to be reckoned with. Now it looks more like a limping giant.