African Press International (API)

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Uhuru’s entry causes anxiety in Kibaki’s camp – Kanu will strenghten Kibaki’s re-election plan

Posted by African Press International on September 16, 2007

Story by LUCAS BARASA AND MUCHEMI WACHIRA
Publication Date: 9/15/2007

Leader of Official Opposition Uhuru Kenyattas move to support President Kibakis re-election has caused a stir among parties pushing for the Head of States re-election bid.

UHURU

A series of meetings were called in an attempt to reach a compromise on the name of the umbrella party that will bring together the Kibaki-friendly parties.

Soon after Mr Kenyatta announced his decision to support President Kibakis re-election on Thursday, he left for State House, Nairobi, to meet the President.

Mr Kenyattas decision was expected to boost the Presidents campaign kitty as his resources might now be directed to ensuring that President Kibaki wins a second term.

But his move could make some of leaders in the Presidents campaign team to lose control of the enormous resources that will be used to mount a national campaign.

Contributes to kitty

Analysts said the Kanu chairman would want to have a say on how the resources will be used if he contributes to the kitty and this might elbow out some of the Presidents close friends.

The day that Mr Kenyatta announced his decision to support President Kibaki was the same day that Kibaki-friendly parties were planning to unveil their umbrella party. However, their efforts were thrown into disarray.

We had to postpone it (naming of the coalition party), Science and Technology minister Noah Wekesa told a press conference yesterday. Dr Wekesa has been coordinating talks between leaders of 10 political parties that have been trying to form a coalition to sponsor President Kibaki who will be defending his seat for a second and final term.

On Thursday, Dr Wekesa and his group agreed to meet on Monday next week but they had to reschedule the meeting to yesterday following what sources said was a directive from the President.

This was after a Cabinet meeting on Thursday which endorsed the Party of National Unity as the vehicle that President Kibaki will use to defend his seat.

The endorsement came just two days after the Daily Nation exclusively reported that the Presidents supporters had registered the PNU as his re-election vehicle. The party was registered on August 23.

According to sources familiar with State House issues, the Cabinet meeting proposed that the President make his party of choice public within the week probably by tomorrow.

And after the Cabinet meeting, President Kibaki headed for another he had convened for Kanu officials led by Mr Kenyatta.

After the meeting with the President, members of the Cabinet most of whom are in Narc Kenya quickly organised another meeting for the flower party to discuss how it could work with Kanu and other Kibaki-friendly parties.

Narc-Kenya chief-whip Jayne Kihara said: We met to define how we can unite with Kanu, Ford-People, Ford-Kenya, Mazingira and anybody else who would like to come with us. We agreed we are going into a coalition. We managed to convince those who were against coalition to support us, she said.

Asked about reports that some members were unhappy with Mr Kenyattas entry, fearing it could interfere with their chances of succeeding the President in 2012, Ms Kihara we need to pass this bridge (this years elections) first.

Yesterday, Dr Wekesa and his group who met at the Silver Springs Hotel in Nairobi said: We have met today to strategise on what part we will play in coordinating activities of the new coalition. And we are ready to work with any party willing to join the coalition.

He added: The President has decided to announce the party himself.

Differences over nomination of candidates were blamed for delaying the unveiling of President Kibakis re-election vehicle.

Some parties preferred to field their own candidates while others felt that PNU should be the sole nominating organ as happened with Narc in 2002.

Most Narc Kenya MPs from Mount Kenya region and Nairobi are pushing for a joint nomination, where every aspiring candidate will be subjected to primaries by the umbrella party.

Parties supporting the President will be facing the two Orange parties ODM and ODM-Kenya. Langata MP Raila Odinga is the ODM presidential candidate while Mwingi North MP Kalonzo Musyoka is the ODM-K nominee.

Suggestions had earlier been made at a meeting that parties opposing a joint nomination be sidelined from the coalition. But the meeting, which the Presidents allies held on Wednesday, noted that several members of the new coalition could opt out, thereby weakening PNU and giving ODM and ODM-K an advantage.

Sources said the Kibaki-friendly parties were casting their net wide and were looking into ways of reaching out to Mr Musyoka to also join the Heads of States re-election campaign team to weaken the Opposition.

Mr Kenyatta alluded to efforts to woo Mr Musyoka to President Kibakis side when he said on Thursday that his party Kanu will not only reach out to President Kibaki and government friendly parties but also to ODM Kenya.

But addressing 40 parliamentary aspirants at the Panafric Hotel in Nairobi yesterday, Mr Musyoka said he had nothing to do with the Government and would not join President Kibaki.

I will not negotiate with President Kibaki. We can only meet at the ballot box, Mr Musyoka said.

He however said he was willing to have talks with Mr Kenyatta and that he was targeting support of Kanu members from Western, Rift Valley, Coast, Eastern and North Eastern who had been abandoned by Mr Kenyatta and other leaders who had joined ODM.

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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