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Kamatusa to group and ensure Kibaki’s re-election in December

Posted by African Press International on September 4, 2007

By Standard TeamODMs almost hitch-free presidential nomination last Saturday seems to have sent shockwaves across the political spectrum, triggering a flurry of activity aimed at stalling any further surge of the party.

Groups of anti-ODM politicians from Western Kenya and Rift Valley Province were on Monday caucusing and urging President Kibaki to name his running mate from their regions to secure the support of voters.

Coming just a day after the Orange party picked Langata MP Mr Raila Odinga as its presidential flagbearer without the much-anticipated noisy fallout, the flurry appeared to be a knee-jerk response by the Presidents point men in the two regions.

In their scheme to lock out ODM from their regions, some of Kibakis allies were last night even toying with the idea of reviving Kamatusa the Kalenjin, Maasai, Turkana and Samburu Association a tribal grouping whose proponents reigned supreme at the height of Kanus one-party dictatorship in the close of the 80s and early 90s.

ODM has Mr Musalia Mudavadi as Railas running mate and Eldoret North MP Mr William Ruto is said to be lined up for the yet-to-be-created position of Prime Minister, something the Rift Valley MPs termed “illegal” and a “ploy” to confuse the provinces over three million voters.

Rift Valley and Western may have unwittingly joined Coast Province which two weeks ago also hinted that it would not go for anything less than the VPs position as a condition for co-operating with any political grouping in the scramble for running mate.

Big dilemma for Kibaki

This became apparent after Shirikisho, which ODM sought out for a partnership, slapped the Orange party with a raft of demands key of which was that one of its own be picked as VP in addition to the party being allowed to field its own parliamentary and civic candidates. ODM rejected the demands.

Shirikisho has, however, not put these demands to President Kibaki.

12 Rift Valley MPs led by Keiyo South Mr Nicholas Biwott gave President Kibaki tough conditions that he has to fulfil before they support his re-election bid.

The legislators want Kibaki to reserve the seat of Vice-President for Agriculture Minister Kipruto arap Kirwa in exchange for their support in the General Election.

When he stood to address a gathering at the Nakuru Showground, Kirwa clarified that the demand should not be misconstrued as greed for power.

“The appointment of the VP is the prerogative of the President, which he will announce after he forms his government. I welcome the idea but it should not portray me as a power hungry individual,” said the Cherangany MP.

Earlier, Kibaki-friendly MPs from Western Province called on the Head of State to name his running mate.

Science and Technology Minister Dr Noah Wekesa, who was of the view that this would whittle down Mudavadis influence, is among those lobbying Kibaki to pick his choice from the province.

“We have already told the President whom we want him to pick as his running mate, and we are sure he is working on our proposal,” said the Kwanza MP, who is at the forefront in the push for a Grand Coalition for Kibakis re-election.

He refused to divulge the name of their preferred candidate for running mate.

Wekesa is a key supporter of Local Government minister Mr Musikari Kombo.

Kibakis current VP Mr Moody Awori hails from the province.

The minister, in a telephone interview with The Standard, conceded that Raila was the main threat to Kibakis bid for a second and final term at State House. He added, cryptically: “The battle to State House in not a three-horse race.”

Kanu MPs to lead vote hunt for Kibaki

Even though the Constitution of Kenya has no provision for a running mate, it would be interesting to see how the President and his handlers will deal with this delicate situation that could enhance or deal his prospects a blow in the three regions.

Addressing opinion leaders drawn from various districts in the vast Rift Valley on Monday, the MPs said their demands were part of a wider strategy to ensure Kibaki got at least two million votes in the region.

“We know other leaders from Western and Coast provinces also want one of them to be Kibakis Number Two, but we in the Rift Valley are the majority and would deliver to Kibaki at least 2 million votes if we are assured of the slot,” said Assistant Minister Mr Asman Kamama.

The Baringo East MP led the crowd in endorsing Kirwa as their choice for the position of VP in the next government should Kibaki be re-elected President.

“Those other parties have ignored our leaders in Rift Valley and chosen their running mates from other regions,” he said.

Assistant minister Mr Ekwe Ethuro also proposed Kirwa as the best choice for the post of VP and said the move would ensure that Kibaki gets votes in the region.

“The people in Rift Valley will definitely want one of their own as the countrys Number Two and Kirwa is the right choice,” he said.

Biwott called for the revival of Kamatusa to spearhead President Kibakis re-election campaign in the arid and semi-arid areas.

“We are coming together as Kamatusa to ensure that Kibaki is re-elected,” he said.

The former powerful Cabinet minister said a number of MPs from the communities had expressed willingness to work together.

“We will hold a series of meetings to listen to our people in the region and then make our final stand,” said Biwott.

Although the meeting was earlier portrayed as a Kanu affair, Assistant ministers Ms Alicen Chelaite, Mr Stephen Tarus and Kamama, who are allied to Narc-Kenya attended.

Chelaite, of Gender and Sports, said their main agenda was to ensure that Kibaki is re-elected in the December polls.

Others who attended the meeting were MPs Mr Nick Salat (Bomet), Mr Paul Sang (Bureti), Mrs Lina Kilimo (Marakwet East), Mr Francis Ewaton (Turkana South) and Mt Elgon MP Mr John Serut.

Former MPs Mr Reuben Chesire, Mr Joseph Lotodo, Mr Joash wa Mangoli and former nominated MP Ms Zipporah Kittony attended the meeting at the Nakuru Showground.

Kirwa said out of the 33 Kalenjin MPs in the region, 18 supported President Kibakis re-election.

The leaders also appreciated and lauded President Kibakis development record and urged him to tour the province and hunt for votes.

Kanu leaders drawn from 30 districts in the province who attended the consultations were mandated to organise political rallies and meetings to popularise the former ruling party at the grassroots.

Earlier, the MPs and Kanu leaders met privately at the Rift Valley Sports Club where they held discussions for two hours before proceeding to the showground.

Lifted and published by Korir, API*APN tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525

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