African Press International (API)

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Parties supporting Kibaki for a second term in office are talking

Posted by African Press International on September 12, 2007

Story by MUCHEMI WACHIRA and LUCAS BARASA
Publication Date: 9/12/2007

President Kibakis allies have picked the Party of National Unity (PNU) as the umbrella coalition to be used in his re-election bid.

Members of Vijana na Kibaki lobby group during a past demonstration in the city. The group was led by Nairobi mayor Dick Wathika. Sources have said that all groups supporting President Kibakis re-election will work under the Party on National Unity. Photo/FILE

The party which was one of the five short-listed as potential re-election vehicles for the President and hi supporters, was registered on August 23, according to records at the office of the Registrar of Societies.

And yesterday, MPs friendly to the Government visited State House, Nairobi.

During their meeting with the President, Kabete MP Paul Muite presented a petition asking for the enactment of minimum constitutional reforms before the December elections.

Enact reforms

The President was understood to have asked Vice-President Moody Awori and Constitutional Affairs minister Martha Karua to get Parliament to enact the reforms alongside the Political Parties Bill. One of the provisions in the Bill, which seeks to regulate the management of political parties, states that the parties will be partly funded by taxpayers.

President Kibaki also told the 28 MPs that he would name his party of choice this week, probably after he returns from Addis Ababa today.

He is expected to name the party before he heads for on official visit to Bungoma at the weekend. Sources said he could have named the party yesterday but consultations were still going on.

However, sources in his campaign team told the Nation that PNU was the party they had identified to provide the ticket for the Presidents re-election campaign.

It will also act as an umbrella under which nine Kibaki-friendly parties will work in the same way 14 parties joined hands ahead of 2002 election to form the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc).

Wildlife assistant minister Kalembe Ndile confirmed that there was a new party which will be unveiled this week but declined to divulge its name.

The party is expected to choose its symbol today. The choice will be between either two lions, two Olympic torches and two rings.

However, records show that people registered as officials of the party are not well known in political circles. Mr J. Nyaboga is registered as the chairman, Mr Albert Muiruri as secretary and Mr Wilfred Apenja as treasurer.

Second term

A source close to the President indicated that PNU was chosen because the name would be neutral and would bring together all parties backing the President for a second and final five-year term.

We are talking about unity in the country and the unity of all the political parties supporting the Presidents re-election for a second term, the source said.

The name was chosen from a cluster of other parties, which had also been registered. These were the Grand National Union, Narc Original and Narc Asili.

We did not want to resort to the name Narc, which some people associate with particular ethnic communities, the source pointed out.

But yesterday, Mr Muite whose Safina party supports President Kibakis re-election, said he was not aware of the launching of the new party.

He said: We need dialogue first between the parties supporting President Kibakis re-election so that there can be coordination. The naming of the new party should be preceded by all-inclusive talks, he said.

DP secretary-general George Nyamwea, who is among the groups that have been coordinating talks on formation the new party, also declined to confirm the name of the party or when it would be unveiled.

Efforts to come up with a party that will sponsor President Kibaki to defend his seat have been going on for the last two months.

This is after the Narc chairperson, Mrs Charity Ngilu, allegedly failed to cooperate with other members of the ruling coalition who wanted her to join them in discussing how they could use the party as the vehicle for President Kibakis re-election.

Mrs Ngilu has already indicated that she may also seek the presidency on a Narc ticket although sources yesterday said she had held unity talks with her former rival, Mwingi North MP Kalonzo Musyoka, the ODM-K presidential nominee.

Cabinet minister Noah Wekesa, who has been chairing a group of pro-Kibaki parties allied to Narc, told a press conference that the new coalition would be named soon.

Parties, which have been involved in the unity efforts include Narc Kenya, Ford Kenya, Ford People, Democratic Party of Kenya (DP), Safina, Sisi Kwa Sisi, SPARK, Agano, Mazingira and other fringe parties.

According to ECK, there were 152 registered political parties by the end of last month. However, the list from the Registrar of Societies put the number at about 200. That means some parties had not forwarded their particulars to the electoral commission.

What has been derailing the naming of the PNU is failure by the pro-Kibaki parties to agree on the mode of nominating their parliamentary and civic candidates.

Whereas some want every candidate to be subjected to primary nominations by the umbrella party as was the case with Narc in 2002, other parties want to sponsor their candidates in their strongholds but support the Presidents re-election.

Most of the parties in the proposed coalition prefer the second option.

Opposing the idea

But yesterday, PNU appeared to be prepared to sideline parties opposing the idea of fielding parliamentary and civic candidates under its ticket.

Dr Wekesa said they were running out of time while some parties had not yet decided what method should be used to nominate candidates.

The Science and Technology minister was to name the grand coalition last Friday but some parties asked for more time to consult their National Executive Committees and agree on the proposed mode of nominating their parliamentary and civic candidates.

Some of the parties, which have indicated that they wish to go it alone in the nominations include Ford Kenya, Ford People, DP, Safina and Sisi Kwa Sisi.

But yesterday DP, which has already identified its parliamentary and civic candidates especially in Central Kenya and parts of Nyanza appeared to soften its stand on joint nominations.

Asked whether the party will comply with demands not to field parliamentary and civic candidates, Mr Nyamwea said: Lets see those who want to work with us in the coalition then we will decide.

Lifted and published by Korir, API*APN africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 63002525 source.nation.ke

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