Kenya Coalition Nominates Kenyatta for President

Kenyan Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, 51, fended off a challenge from compromise candidate and fellow vice premier Musalia Mudavadi to become the presidential nominee for the Jubilee Coalition.

Mudavadi withdrew from the grouping announced Dec. 4 to take part in elections scheduled for March 4, he said Dec. 21.

“Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta has been nominated as flag bearer and presidential candidate,” Francis Ole Kaparo, chairman of the United Republican Party told reporters today in Nairobi, the capital.

Kenyatta the son of Kenya’s first president, Jomo Kenyatta, is campaigning for the presidency even as he prepares to face charges at the International Criminal Court for his role in the ethnic violence at the last elections in 2007. The clashes left more than 1,100 people dead and forced 350,000 to flee their homes.

The Jubilee coalition, which brings together four political parties, includes lawmaker William Ruto who, like Kenyatta, has been charged by the ICC with crimes against humanity. Both men deny the charges. Ruto, 46, was nominated as Kenyatta’s running mate.

The Coalition for Reform and Democracy, which includes the political parties of Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, Trade Minister Moses Wetangula and at least 12 others, yesterday named Odinga, 67, as its presidential candidate.

About 47 percent of respondents in a survey by marketing company, Ipsos-Synovate released Dec. 14 indicated they would vote the Odinga-led coalition, while 41 percent said they prefer the Jubilee Coalition.

About 22 percent of voter-age Kenyans haven’t decided which presidential candidate to support, up from 12 percent in November, said Tom Wolf, a consultant with Ipsos-Synovate. Voter preferences may begin stabilizing by February, when parties submit their final list of candidates to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, Wolf said.

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