By Stephen Makabila and Jacob Ng'etich
After the Makueni showdown, Jubilee and CORD are headed for a bruising mini-election tussle soon once more than a hundred pending petitions are concluded in the next four weeks.
Given the rulings are to be made in the next one month, chances are that the Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC) will set a common by-elections date in electoral areas where incumbents would have lost their seats.
IEBC chairman Issack Hassan says the petitions filed after the March 4 poll were fewer than the commission had anticipated but the fact remains that it will face another logistical nightmare that could require hefty funding from Treasury.
"Given the magnitude of the election and the number of seats contested in it, the commission had expected 500 petitions or there about. This means we did better than we expected," said Hassan. A bulk of the petitions for the Senators, Governors, MPs and County Representatives have already passed through the first round and gone to the hearing stage.
The Standard on Sunday has established Jubilee Coalition was already scheming on how to win in areas it foresees by-elections, especially after its candidate was humiliated in Makueni.
"Within the CORD strongholds, Jubilee wants to first penetrate Western Province, with Bungoma and Trans-Nzoia counties being top on its cards. It is keen on winning any by-election at whatever level in the two counties as the starting point of gaining foothold in the region," said an MP from Western allied to the coalition.
Lugari MP Ayub Savula led 14 MPs for a meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto at State House Nairobi, earlier in the week.
"We want this madness about Luhya unity in every public forum to end. We must work closely with Jubilee to benefit as a region. Why hasn't Western produced a president after all these years of singing Luhya unity on political platforms?" posed Savula.
By mid April, there were 181 petitions that had been filed in various courts around the country. The petitions were filed by the close of the 28-day period set out by the Constitution after gazettement of the winners. Some 23 petitions were filed against
election of Governors, 12 against Senators, 71 against Members of the National Assembly, nine against Women Representatives, 65 against County Representatives and four against County Assembly Speakers.
Under Section 75 of the Elections Act, all petitions and county electoral disputes must be concluded within six months of being filed.
While several MPs have survived the petition scare after cases against them were dismissed, the latest casualty is Matungulu MP Stephen Mule (Wiper Democratic Movement). This was after the High Court sitting in Machakos nullified his election over electoral malpractices.