The political party of current Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is making eligibility requirements much stricter in preparation for its upcoming first round of primaries. According to Jubilee Party Secretary General, Raphael Tuju, any candidates found to have questionable academic credentials will be rejected. “If we find out that the university certificate was forged even after you have gone through the nomination process, we will disqualify you,” Tuju said. This will be enforced with the cooperation of Kenya’s Ministry of Education, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Attorney General’s office. Jubilee Party primaries are slated to occur on April 21 and April 25, depending on the county.
This increase in vetting appears to be spurred on by an increase in aspiring Jubilee Party members. At the beginning of the election cycle, Jubilee expected to hold primaries in 33 out of Kenya’s 47 counties, but because of the surge in candidates, 45 counties will now hold Jubilee primaries. “Only Kisumu and Siaya will have no nominations because we have solitary candidates there. Where there is no competition, there is no need for the primaries,” explained Andrew Musangi, Jubilee’s National Elections Board Chairman. The increase also led to the two-day primary, since Jubilee initially planned to hold all primaries across the country in one day. Primaries in Nairobi and the Rift Valley will be held on Friday, while Western and Northern Kenya will hold their nominations on Tuesday.
The party is also preparing for an accurate election without incident by urging people to register with the party, rather than depend on local “smart-cards” that have been prone to voter fraud in the past. In response to rumors that the ballots expected to be used in the primaries had leaked, Musangi said, “I am 150 percent certain, no, scratch that, 1,000 percent that our ballot papers have not been compromised.”