Raila Odinga endured a tough day on Thursday as he worked to convince parties in the coalition that he would continue to cater to their interests as the nominations ahead of the General Election begin.
Mr Odinga would end up making a U-turn on a tricky proposal to categorise the country in zones that he had figured would give Azimio-affiliated candidates better chances of winning and guaranteeing him the numbers in terms of elected representatives.
The smaller members of the more than 20 parties in Azimio, however, saw the proposal as likely to lock out their candidates, denying them the opportunity to market themselves and the party the chance to gain popularity and numbers.
In Ukambani for example, the decision means that Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper Party will have its candidates competing with those from Alfred Mutua’s Maendeleo Chap Chap and the Jubilee Party. This will also be the case in mixed zones such as Kisii and Nyamira counties as well as the western Kenya region, where the Jubilee Party and the Orange Democratic Movement have previously shared the vote.
Where he can, like in Homa Bay County, Gladys Wanga was handed the gubernatorial ticket.
On the positive side, the decision means that the candidates can now compete on an equal footing at the polls and there are reduced chances of unhappy aspirants running as independent candidates.
Parties consider the numbers important because it gives them greater negotiating power in decision-making and in monetary terms because of the Political Parties Fund.
On his part, Deputy President William Ruto has opted for negotiated democracy as one of his strategies to avoid a fallout at the nominations of his United Democratic Alliance.
Dr Ruto has taken to meeting the aspirants personally and negotiating a truce, where the candidate who looks stronger gets the party ticket. This is likely to help avert complaints and chaos when the party holds nominations on April 14.
The Deputy President has also stated that he would personally supervise the nominations across the country. Dr Ruto would know the importance of getting his hands dirty. After the Jubilee Party hierarchy bungled the nominations in 2017, he had to take charge and ensure they were carried out well. The downside for him was that politically, some of the losers claimed that he had engineered their downfall.
While parties are usually special purpose vehicles created to deliver at the General Election, the nominations are considered important because getting a ticket means the candidate is in the right vehicle.