African Press International (API)

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Uhuru Kenyatta backs Moi as expected and supports President Kibaki for a second term

Posted by African Press International on September 10, 2007

Story by BERNARD NAMUNANE
Publication Date: 9/10/2007

Official Opposition leader Uhuru Kenyatta is in talks with parties friendly to President Kibaki for a possible coalition as the General Elections date draws closer.

The new development emerged as a high profile team of pro-Kibaki parties held a two-day closed door meeting in Naivasha to thrash out the details of a grand coalition on whose ticket the Head of State will defend his seat in the December elections.

Mr Uhuru Kenyatta

The Naivasha meeting was meant to conclude negotiations between Kibaki-friendly parties which had been going on at Nairobis Silver Springs Hotel. It could have been the reason behind President Kibakis hint on Saturday that he would soon talk politics. The President dropped the hint during the National Prayer Day.

Opt out of race

Sources at Sopa Lodge Hotel in Naivasha said that Mr Kenyatta attended the meeting that brought together leaders from the Kibaki friendly parties, which include Ford Kenya, Democratic Party, Ford People, Narc Kenya and other parties.

The meeting begun on Saturday and ended late last evening.

The presence of the Gatundu South MP and Kanu national chairman gave credence to reports that he may opt out of the presidential race. It could also mean that Mr Kenyatta will neither team up with ODM-K presidential candidate Kalonzo Musyoka nor work with ODM flagbearer Raila Odinga. During the 2005 referendum, Mr Kenyatta was part of ODM, but pulled out mid this year, saying ODM had become a party and was therefore in competition with Kanu.

Various Kanu MPs have crossed over to ODM, ODM-K, DP, Safina, and other parties while he contemplates the next move to protect his political career.

Yesterday, Siakago MP Justin Muturi, a close ally of the Kanu chairman, said: It is clear that if we are not going to field a presidential candidate, we will work with parties willing to enter into coalitions.

Mr Muturi added that since ODM had ruled out forming coalitions, Kanu was open to talks with those seeking alliances.

Certainly parties which are supportive of Kibaki are an option but we will want structured talks between party organs, said the Opposition whip in Parliament.

It is in this light that Mr Kenyatta has called a meeting of Kanus Governing Council (GC) next Monday to take stock of the political developments and decide whether to field a candidate or join a coalition and support its flagbearer.

It is understood he will be seeking the GCs mandate of to continue with the talks.

Mr Muturi strengthened reports that Kanu would not contest when he said on Friday: I dont think there is a point for the chairman to run. In politics you must calculate very carefully before deciding to go for the big seat… We need to rebuild for 2012.

Last week, Mr Kenyatta told mourners in Karuti Village, Muranga District, that Central Province should vote as a bloc. However, he failed to name the presidential candidate they were to rally behind.

Indications that he was headed for talks with the pro-Kibaki parties became clear three weeks ago when he held a dinner meeting with Ford Kenya chairman Musikari Kombo, who is leading the team, at China Plate Restaurant in Nairobi.

It is understood that Mr Kenyatta laid on the table conditions of an umbrella party and Kanu being allowed to field parliamentary and civic candidates in its strongholds were it to enter into a coalition.

Since then, President Kibakis handlers have been sending signals to the Kanu chairman to join their efforts to form a formidable coalition capable of winning the next elections. Sources said President Kibaki had indicated his willingness to work with the Gatundu South MP in his next government should he win the elections.

The grand coalition party, which Ford-Ks Noah Wekesa, DPs George Nyamweya and Ford-Ps Jimmy Angwenyi have been spearheading, meets Mr Kenyattas condition of corporate membership.

Dr Wekesa, the Science and Technology minister, said leaders of political parties seeking to form the grand coalition are scheduled to unveil the name of the party by next week.

Our job was to agree on the tools of coming together, the coalition name and how it will be driven, he said.

Among those who organised and attended the Sopa Lodge talks were Cabinet ministers Kombo, Raphael Tuju, who is also the Narc-K chairman, Mutahi Kagwe, Henry Obwocha and David Mwiraria.

Sticky issues

Reports indicated that the meeting addressed sticky issues that were delaying the unveiling of the coalition party. On the agenda was concern over lack of a clear leadership for the coalition party that will form President Kibakis political campaign team and the mode of membership to the party and the stake of each partner.

Other items on the agenda at the Naivasha meeting were the coalitions campaign strategy, mode of nominations and a power-sharing formula.

The names of possible parties on the table include the Grand National Union (GNU), Party of National Unity (PNU), Narc Asili, Narc Original and Narc.

Lifted and published by Korir, API*APN africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or + 47 6300 2525 source.nation.ke

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