The electoral commission this week announced that it had rejected the rules to govern nominations submitted by 89 parties, amongst them the two backing the biggest candidates – Raila Odinga and William Ruto.
Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairman Wafula Chebukati suggested the parties had taken a casual approach to the development of the rules and asked them to revisit them.
The rejection of the rules undermines an almost inevitable point of conflict in an election year – the push and pull within parties that is often detrimental to plans for a peaceful election.
The nasty infighting is a common feature of the election season. Ahead of the last General Election, the Jubilee Party had to postpone the nominations for a day after a series of logistical issues caused chaos across the party’s strongholds. Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement is also no stranger to nomination chaos.
The same also appears imminent in Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance, where aspirants have complained that sitting elected representatives have taken control of the party’s grassroots activities and sparked fears that they may be frustrated at the nominations.
The infighting creates interesting dynamics, where some candidates switch to smaller parties or go independent after losing in the nominations. In Jubilee, some of the aspirants would later claim that the party’s leadership had orchestrated their removal at the primaries.
Whether the electoral commission can enforce the creation of proper rules is yet to be seen, but from the activities so far, there is nothing to suggest that the chaos of the primaries will go away in 2022.